Fantasy, Reality, Reviews and Drama Lessons from Gordon A. Long
Products: fantasy books, social commentary, ebooks, humor, reviews, and short stories. 
Self-publishing services: editing, proof-reading, graphic art, formatting, and promoting e books or traditional books. 
Drama: for teachers of spoken language, drama, and second languages improving classroom skills and resources.

   Home      Phobos: Mayan Fear
Are We Stupid? Blog admits "Why Canadians Fear Bernie Sanders"
Renaissance Writer reviews a whole genre, the "To Hell with Convention" Book.
Indies Unlimited Post "Find and Replace: the Writer's Best Friend”
YouTube Video "Out of Mischief Trailer"
YouTube Video "On the Road in Southeast Asia" the vibrant street life of the bustling cities of Cambodia and Vietnam.
YouTube Video  "The Rhyme of the Swiftsure Mariner"  For any sailor who ever had a race where the wind just wouldn't cooperate.
YouTube Video  "To The Ends of Argentina"   Travel to Iguassu Falls and Cape Horn


Why Are People So Stupid?

 eBook $2.99

A Sword Called…Kitten?

 eBook: $1.99 

Soft Cover: $14.95


Drama Materials

Expressive Poetry Performance

   Student Handbook

   Teacher Guide

The Dramatic Classroom Blog

Latest post: Get the "Amateur" off the Board of Directors

Interesting Contacts

Cas Peace -  Novelist, Editor
Kaz Augustin  -  Sandalpress
Yvonne Hertzberger  - Fantasy Writer 

The Indie View - Indie Book Reviews from Around the Web

Anachronism Pictures

Including the award-winning mechanical squid,"Septopus"


The Surrey Intergenerational Theatre Troupe

The Vaudevillians

 B. C's. #1 Seniors Entertainment Troupe



Phobos: Mayan Fear 


Steve Alten


 It is the habit of innovative writers to push the envelope in the first book in a series. Having created an audience that knows what’s going on, they push it a bit farther in the second book. Assuming they have kept at least some of their readers with them, they are free to go even further in later publications. Unfortunately, sometimes they go too far, and leave everybody behind.

 In a nutshell (and I use the term advisedly) this book is an incomprehensible olio of everything that the World Cataclysm/Mayan Prophesy/Pseudo-Religion/Time Travel/Chariots of the Gods/Conspiracy Theory genres can come up with. All so mixed together that the reader has a great deal of difficulty following what is happening.


 As near as I can gather, the story involves people from 2047 coming back in time through alternate realities to stop the 2012 Mayan calendar cataclysm, in this case precipitated by a singularity created by atoms colliding in a linear accelerator.

 Complexity Upon Complexity

 In the process, the author drags in: the World Trade Centre attack, a spaceship under a Mexican pyramid, Nazca desert line drawings, the caldera under Yellowstone park, the Bermuda triangle, ETs and UFOs in Area 51, and Doomsday hideaways built for the elite at vast taxpayer expense. And that’s only the settings. Philosophically, besides the Mayan Prediction, we have: reincarnation and the channeling of past lives, Adam and Eve, the Jewish Cabala, The Bible (of course), mental telepathy, crystal skulls from Mesoamerica, and that old Conspiracy Theory standby: an organization that is a “transnational government unto itself, acting outside the law, with influence reaching into many governments, agencies, corporations, media, and financial interests,” funded by billions of dollars of “black budget” government money.


 There are so many settings, and so much background required for each setting, that about a third of the book consists of backstory. For example, Chapter 17: six pages of exposition of new characters and places, two pages of Mayan myth/history, two pages describing Mexican human trafficking, three pages of action. End of chapter.


 It seems that the Mayan Doomsday Prophecy isn’t about asteroids or earthquakes. It’s about man’s out-of-control ego. Greed, corruption, hatred, negativity, the elite one percent continuing its dominance over the ninety-nine percent. Corrupt political leaders, Big Oil, the banks, the military-industrial complex. Does any of this sound familiar?


 There are so many characters it’s difficult to remember them, and even if you get to know a character, then you have to know which incarnation you’re facing at any given time, with several thousand years’ worth of possibilities to choose from.


 There is always a problem with time travel stories, because it really cuts into the suspense when the reader knows that if anything goes wrong, the author can jump us around in time and fix it. Likewise with reincarnation. At one point a character is about to be torn asunder from her soul mate, and she is simply advised to wait until their next incarnation, when they will be together again. Great advice for a bereaved spouse, but not so good for creating empathy and sorrow in the reader, since the next incarnation may take place on the following page.

 As I told the librarian when I was checking out this book, I review a wide range of efforts from independent writers, so I regularly “cleanse my palate” by reading books by well-known authors who are supported by all the resources of reputable traditional publishers: the gatekeepers who protect the quality of our reading material. And I am reminded that sometimes this system completely falls down at its job. It is a common suspicion among readers that any work that is too complex and erudite to understand might be a parody, perpetrated by the artist to make fun of people who believe in the sort of nonsense portrayed. I find no evidence to make me believe otherwise about this novel.

This book may have had a certain cachet in 2011 when it was published. Post-2012, I cannot recommend it to anyone except die-hard Steve Alten fans who are well versed in this sort of writing, who enjoy feeling awash in a sea of overused concepts. From the Amazon reviews, I get the feeling that a lot of these people are disappointed as well. If I hadn’t been writing a review, I never would have finished reading this book.












Television series







Mind of the Beast

Brian and Juliet Freyermuth

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust

Alan Bradley

Raven's Wing

Shawna Reppert


Chaz Fenwick






Erik Kort

(Short Story)

Aine Greaney

Mysteries of Shetland

Anne Cleeves


Shawna Reppert

The Cold Forever

Dmitry Pavlovsky

Ava's Man

Rick Bragg

Ava's Man

Rick Bragg

The Best Laid Plans

Terry Fallis



Wordscapist: the Myth

Arpan Panicker

Murder and Mendelssohn
Kerry Greenwood

Drawing Conclusions
Donna Leon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Alexander McCall Smith

The Dead in their Vaulted Arches
Alan Bradley

The Commons Book 1

The Journeyman
Michael Alan Peck

At War With Satan
Steff Metal

Phobos: Mayan Fear
Steve Alten

Linton Robinson

The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald

You Can't Get There From Here
Gayle Forman

Psychic Warrior
T. D. McKinnon

Peter R. Stone

Butterman (Time Travel) Inc.
PK Hrezo

Winter Fire
Laurie Dubay 

Canadian Pie
Will Ferguson 

Bertie Plays the Blues
Alexander McCall Smith

Miss Timmins' School for Girls
Nayana Currimbhoy

Peter Cawdron

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
Enid Shomer

The Importance of Being Seven
Alexander McCall Smith

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Meghan Ciana Doidge

Unnatural Habits
A Phryne Fisher Mystery

Kerry Greenwood

Book I of The Glaring Chronicles

Matthew Krause

The Hundred-Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais

The Crooked House
John Longeway

Eye Candy
Ryan Schneider

Season of the Harvest
Michael R. Hicks

Chronicles of Trellah Book I:
The Perpetual Rain

T. S. Graham

The Casual Vacancy
J. K. Rowling
Alexander McCall Smith
Charlotte Henley Babb

David Litwack 
G. T. Denny
John Patrick Gallagher
Cas Peace
Steve Umstead
Mark Everett Stone