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This Point in Time The Gardener

By Centurion030
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I am offering the prologue to This Point in Time as a free read. Please enjoy!

Some post-editing changes were made -- especially correcting Caracas to Caracal. :)

Tweaked the section on the aquaculture to reflect more accurately growing duckweed.
© 2018 - 2021 Centurion030
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Centurion030's avatar
Another review!

This Point in Time

We were left with more questions than answers at the end of Flight to Oz, Book II, but one of the most puzzling mysteries JW Krych left us with was on par with something along the lines of an Oz-themed conspiracy theory: how did Jonathan and Ozma enter orbit with one Bravo but return with a different one?

In Part Three of Book II: Anusha of Oz, Jonathan goes into orbit around the planet that Oz is a part of and he takes Ozma as his co-pilot. The mission went without a hitch for the most part and they even got to catch some zzz’s in Zero G. It wasn’t until they got back on the ground when they found some things out of the ordinary: it was weird enough that the ship’s computer recorded an hour of missing data; but not only did the Bravo’s clock read 15 years fast, it wasn’t even the same Bravo they had departed in! What happened on the mission? Leave it to Krych to give us a mind-blowing sci-fi twist in an Oz book.

This is where JW Krych’s brand-new novella comes in. This Point in Time recalls the events that unfurled during that missing time, and to confirm what you have all been hoping, it involves wormholes and time-travel.

In that time, the Bravo ends up getting sucked into a wormhole that spits them out back into orbit, but they’re not in Oz anymore…they’re above Jonathan’s Earth! As luck would have it, they are rescued by the crew of the ISASRV Golda Meir. Fans of the Flight to Oz series will recognize this as the name of the Israeli ship whom Jonathan and his crew had been good friends with in their pre-Ozian past.

They are taken to the Israeli moon base, Base Esther, where Jonathan is given the one-in-a-billion chance to catch up with old friends whom had feared he and the Haley crew had died after their disappearance. As for Ozma…she makes the acquaintance of Chatulah, the solemn, serious resident gardener with family secrets that the readers quickly link to Oz and Ozma!

Krych uses this novella as a way to dabble into other genres to tell a compelling Oz tale. Biblical fiction, historical fiction, and even traces of horror are all elements used to create this narrative and this genre-bending cocktail is mixed successfully. Krych continues the themes of feminism that L. Frank Baum once started by referencing Hebrew women from the Tanakh that anyone who is familiar with Judeo-Christian stories will know and invokes inspiration for Ozma and the audience. Visions of the Holocaust from Ozma’s nightmares are painted with vivid detail that offer a taste of how the most innocent of choice can have the direst of consequences.

Jonathan and Ozma are handed the opportunity to turn the guilt, fear, sorrow, and grief of others into closure and forgiveness as well as seek it for themselves. These strong emotions play into the greatest theme of the story. Even though the two characters pursue two separate plotlines, they aim for the same goals and find ways to form lasting bonds with old and new friends that extends beyond the barriers of time and space.

Instead of writing a “fun” novella to hold his readers down until the next comes out, he wrote a novella that continues the story that he started and will continue to connect us to past events and those yet to come. I know for one thing, this isn’t the last we’ll hear about the point in time Jonathan and Ozma visited. And as for the initial question asking about the Bravo; I’ll let you read that for yourself.

5/5 Stars

Erica Olivera

The Naughty Nerd of Oz

Centurion030's avatar
Full review:
From Ron Baxley, Jr., fantasy and science fiction author who writes about Oz and Disney:
Five Stars! 
"James Krych's This Point in Time combines the lost sense of wonder about the Space Race that was in the 50s and 60s that was in Walt Disney's first concepts of Tomorrowland with well-researched technology such as growing techniques in barren landscapes found in The Land pavilion in modern-day Epcot. However, not only does Krych have a self-sustaining moon base with crops and fish in his science fiction book that has been a long-time dream of many futurists/science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury and gives pragmatic technical details, but like Piers Anthony, he shows how a world of magic, Oz, can become juxtaposed with a world of technology (at least through its characters). Themes of the usage of technology versus the usage of magic and the differences and reliance on each are explored within the entire narrative. 

Via spaceship, Princess Ozma is brought from the world of Oz to the Earth's moon through a wormhole or portal along with an outsider who first came to her world. In fact, she in a later chapter heals somebody with magic from her world much to the amazement of the tech-driven crew and the moon base residents. Within Krych's book, it is almost as if Ray Bradbury had the more whimsical, fantastic sides of himself merge more with the pragmatic side of himself. Nevertheless, what is different than some science fiction is Krych's is not only using the tropes of hard science fiction but incorporates facets of sociological science fiction. 

By bringing the history of the Holocaust and the wandering of the Judaic people and their disputes about territory in a futuristic book about space travel, James bring a more historical and sociological angle to his book. His character Chatullah, is Jewish and is from a group of Romani who were horribly mistreated by the Nazis. Princess Ozma, upon bring brought to the moon base, has a dream full of horrific imagery about the Holocaust within it. Chatullah reveals to the princess that she is a gardener at the moon base, and Princess Ozma wants to assist her in the gardening. The military gardening specialist snubs the offer at first, thinking Ozma might be too soft to help her. However, Ozma reveals that she was once converted into a slave boy named Tip by the witch Mombi and had to do huge amounts of farm labor for her. Chatullah relents and lets her join her, and the young ladies learn so much more about each other than they did before. In fact, Krych has great character growth occur in both of these major characters. His grasp of characterization has become even stronger in this book than the rest of the series.

Not far in the narrative, Princess Ozma, with magic, heals somebody who has a negative reaction to Earth water of all things when the crew's technology does not work to help her. Scans by the medical crew have revealed that Ozma is very different biologically from the rest who are with her or at at the base. 

Next, horrific descriptions of the Holocaust continue throughout the narrative through flashbacks or visions. One is of the ovens that were used in the mass destruction of the Jewish people in the 1940s. Chatullah later tries to explain to Ozma what was done to her people through the use of descriptions of confined fish, which in the moon base are raised in an aquarium-like environment that is more like a natural pool yet with a constructed bottom more thoughtfully constructed and with materials more lunar-friendly than swimming pools. 

While she is doing all of this, the crew of the old Bravo ship see the advancements made in the communications for the new Bravo as well as the advancements in weaponry within it. Krych definitely shows his skill and penchance for hard science fiction. I personally like the sociological science fiction facets of his narrative a bit more, but this is a biase that I have. I think that fans of the science fiction genre overall, particularly hard science fiction, will enjoy this work.

The book soon goes back into the sociological and historical as Ozma, in a fantastic way through her dreams, is brought into the actual horrific experiments that were done in the Holocaust. Chatullah at this point further explains her relatives' connections fo the Auschwitz. Ozma is beginning to realize the stark realities of that history, but there is some mystery behind her connection to that historical period because she keeps being told to apologize to Chatullah during her dream. 

On a side note, Jonathan, Betsy Bobbin, (and the former two's relationship), and adopted Tina and Tasha from Book 2 are brought back into the narrative shortly after this. Jonathan has been perplexed at how the wormhole that brought Ozma and he on their ship the Golda Mier to the moon occurred. 

Next, Amalie, one of the Jewish moon base staff, works out the entry point and exit point of the Golden Meir from its position in Oz to where it ended up in orbit around the moon. As Amalie seeks a way to make her working a little into the Sabbath on the project to be justified, there is an implied, slightly humorous case of what Christians have called the ox being in the ditch regarding the Sabbath at this point. In fact, Judaic as well as Christian references are found within the work as they are found in Krych's other books.

In another chapter after this, some of the more horrible experiments done on human beings by the Nazis are alluded to in another dream sequence that Princess Ozma has. Again, there is a mystery that connects her to these events that will keep the reader turning pages. Shortly after this, Chatullah reveals an item to Princess Ozma which further reveals the thread of the mystery which Krych has carefully interwoven in the plot. 

Chatullah teaches Princess Ozma a lot of fairly modern Judaic history and language and reveals her own family's connection to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This is an expansive yet interesting section which I will leave to the reader. The young Romani and Princess Ozma share in other experiences, including comparing the Magic Picture of Oz to a technological device that Chatullah uses to bring images of Israel to the moon. Princess Ozma also reveals her deep, hearting relationship with Dorothy of Oz to Chatullah. 

Next, two of the other Jewish residents of the moon base discuss Jonathan and his relationship with Betsy Bobbin and how he as a Jew married her in Oz and how they adopted the Indian girl on the spectrum, Anusha, which Krych's Book 2 focuses on. Jonathan's Jewish friends get him reimersed in the Torah and verses to help him with his struggles in life.  

After this, Princess Ozma researches more on the Holocaust using an electronic device from Chatullah and has discovered the Hebrew Bible in her research. Chatullah teaches Princess Ozma, who only has a cursory knowledge of the text, about the Hebrew Bible at this point.  

In a cut-away to another scene, Amalie is shown using at least three smartboards and various skills in technology, physics, and mathematics to determine the arrival time of the ship Jonathan and Ozma came in on through the wormhole. Having reading some of the dates on some of the chapter headings, I was perplexed at first. Then, I began to realize, though Amalie's discussion before many on the moonbase, there is a Wrinkle in Time-esque aspect to this part of Krych's book.

In yet another chapter, Biblical heroines are prompting Ozma closer to the answer to a mystery which flows through the entire novel. One of the higher ups at the moon base, within this same chapter, discusses a process of genetic engineering with the soldiers, basically discussing how it makes them super-soldiers. (I find this interesting that a book so alligned with spiritual aspects also seems to embrace scientific genetic manipulation;usually, one finds the contrary) It turns out that the higher in command in this portion of the narrative is one mentioned early on in the book, a fellow whose seargants take joy in stealing hummus from him despite all of his so-called superior aspects. This adds some well-needed comic relief, as it did earlier in the narrative, after some stark chapters.

The rest of the book deals with greater revelation about the mystery of Ozma's connection to the visions she keeps having and Chatullah and more details about how the ship traveled to the moon. For those who love hard science fiction with sociological science fiction placed on equal footing with the technological aspects and those who like fantasy coupled with science fiction, this book will definitely fit the bill. 

Centurion030's avatar
"James Krych's This Point in Time has a self-sustaining moon base that has been a long-time dream of many futurists/science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury with many pragmatic technical details, but like Piers Anthony, Krych shows how a world of magic, Oz, can become juxtaposed with a world of technology through its characters. For example, fantastic Princess Ozma of Oz forges a relationship with the more techie Chatalluh of the moon base she has has ended up in (how she does so can be further explored by the reader). The characters revealing more and more facets of their pasts to each other helps enrich their characterization as well as their relationship with one another. Ozma and Chatalluh revealing of their pasts reveals more and more of a carefully and skillfully unfolded mystery within Krych's book as well. Back-stories of both reveal ties to Earth history from the 1940s and other time periods, for example. 

What makes Krych's work different than some science fiction is he not only uses the tropes of hard science fiction but incorporates facets of sociological science fiction, including how history such as the Holocaust can be brought into a futuristic work. As an author of fantasy and sociological science fiction and fan of the genre, I enjoyed how history and fantasy were brought into Krych's latest novel. I should add that Judaic as well as Christian references are found within the work as they are found in Krych's other books but this does not distract from yet largely contributes to the main plot as allegory did in the works of, for example, C.S. Lewis. Krych also has L'Engle-esque A Wrinkle in Time aspects to the plot which further cement the fantastic, science fiction, and, at times, allegorical aspects in his narrative. I admired the skill Krych showed in following the foot-steps of these authors, having one small step as an author but one giant leap for author-kind. 

For those who love hard science fiction with sociological science fiction placed on equal footing with the technological aspects and those who like fantasy coupled with science fiction, this book will definitely fit the bill. In fact, only the staunchest of atheists will dislike the allegorical aspects of the work as they are not overly didactic and do not distract from the overall story. The plot itself involves well-developed characters such as Princess Ozma and Chatalluhs whose pasts/back-stories are gradually revealed and are integral to the suspense and mystery of the plot. I highly recommend this book for science fiction readers who like historical, fantastic, and allegorical facets brought into futuristic settings. 
5 Stars (*****) --  Ron Baxley, Jr., author of O.Z. Diggs Himself Out (YBR Publishing) and other books
Centurion030's avatar
Will be updating very shortly to tweak the section about the aquaculture section -- the duckweed are grown in separate little pools.
thormemeson's avatar
Very interesting with the ties to the Holocaust this many years in. That alone draws our attention back to Earth. 
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