75503763When all else has failed, Dr. Lylah goes to extraordinary lengths to save her patient. Using untested technology, she undergoes a process of digitization and downloads her consciousness onto a nano craft to explore the ever-expanding tumor pressing against her patient’s brain. What she finds is far from what she expected. An entire universe inhabited by big game hunters, criminal cartels, and timeless monsters.

Suddenly digitalization and ethical dilemmas are the least of her concerns as she searches for a cure within this tenebrous bubble of reality.

“Space Horror at its finest. Artificial Intelligence, space pirates, and bad-ass sapphic heroes!”

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Amazon ebook 122 Perched Raven Press Scifi Horror January 1st, 2023

You know the way we usually choose a book to read by its cover, the description, genre its in? The usual way. This book, for me, was a choice based on author only. I decided to read it because Paul is cool… Read about it here… Then, it also appeared that, look, the cover is pretty freaky and nice at the same time, the description is also captivating… and here we are. A scifi horror novella, sure to fit into any hardcore reader’s day, for a ‘one-sitting’ kind of adventure.

I’ve been sitting on this review for a while now… I just don’t think I am able to give an accurate overview of the plot – there were sentences that I had to read twice or thrice to go: oh, yes, yes, yes, I get it! Not because it was confusingly written, not at all. But because I am slow. I. am. slow. There’s some big words and ideas in the book that I don’t normally have any connection to in my daily life, I failed all of sciency type classes during my 14 year education, so for most hardcore scifi readers, it may be easy to grasp, but for me, not so much! 😀 Sometimes I just don’t get it… I blank out! So, you may think, why read it then? Because the stories are still interesting, and maybe something will stick! But, going back to my original point, I may not be able to fully do the story justice. Moving on.

Soon her mind would be free of its inherent biological limitations. Free to access a digital stream of limitless and ever-increasing data.

Sheppard has conjured up some really nightmarish stuff. The growth, a tumor, growing in Dr Lylah’s young patient’s brain is itself a scary concept. Something as cruel as a tumor taking away the life of an innocent child is enough to spur Dr Lylah to take the wild leap of downloading her consciousness onto a nano craft to go and explore the tumor at source. And if you think this is wild in itself, buckle up because it’s about to get even wilder and scarier than you can imagine.

I’ll tell you what, this book left more of an impact on me than I realized at first, and I realized the impact after I had a nightmare that was 100% inspired by this book. I don’t generally have nightmares that are very ‘deep’… I see big waves and bears. This particular nightmare however was about the mind and the doors that open to other places and the beings that we release into the world through these open doors.

The sad truth was that they all became automatons, living droids in the modern work model, freelance slaves for the big corporations, measured and valued only for their productivity.

But when you find an enitre Universe in someone’s head – a realistic, advanced Universe with dangers and lifeforms and droids and… Terrifying. Mind blowing. It’s the idea and theory of multiverse that is at once exciting and unimaginable. A very good element of a scifi fiction, a lot of opportunities… Sheppard put everything into play here. Every word in Terror Forming counts.

There are two things, however, that did make my limited intelligence ponder… 1. The fact that as humans, we are limited by our biological characteristics. See quote from the book above. If our spirits and thinking power weren’t ‘prisoned’ into these meatsacks we wear that spends most of the lifecycle alive towards aging, what, who and how much could we really be? What if we could download our consciousness into a droid, we’d be like AI… BUT we’d be AI with no expiry date on our minds? We’d be immortal to explore, experiment, discover… Okay, that’s freaky. 2. I kind of love this about the few scifi titles that I have read. With all of these out of this world elements, and sometimes things that have not yet come to exist, there is always some connection to the real life, to the human society that we can relate to. Sometimes it’s hidden behind metaphor, other times it’s a bold statement. See the second quote above. I love it. It’s a description of a society in a parallel Universe, but it’s also boldly truthful statement that applies to where you and I are living in presently. If the strange and unexisting can be made relatable in fiction, the author wins.

I mean, also digitization… It’s the norm. It’s the norm for all paperwork, fort all bureaucracy. It’s data centres in oceans. It’s a big, huge thing that still blows my mind – data. The energy used for it, to cool the servers, to keep everything running. We have access to data at all times, smooth limitless data… If you think of it, human minds, real human minds becoming a digital thing, feels like the next logical step to ‘fuck around and find out’ about?!

Did I enjoy this story? I did. Very much so. Would I recommend? Absolutely. Yes, I may have been a bit challenging for me at times, but as I said earlier, that’s on me. This intelligent scifi story has good pace, a good flow and a very good cast of characters. You will have NO doubt that you’re reading scifi for where and how it takes place, the horrors that our characters face, the droids, the space travel… The gadgets. It’s all very imaginative and awe-inspiring to a scifi newb like me, and I am sure hardcore scifi readers will also enjoy the use of modern, advanced scifi elements and ideas that it tackles. This title is definitely leaving the reader with more food for thought than simply being of the entertaining kind.