Corwin seamlessly integrates elements of astrophysics, wormholes, and parallel universes into the narrative, providing an intellectually stimulating experience.

– The Moving Words Review

The Optical Lasso: Beware Of Neptune's Dark Side (2nd Edition)

Testimonial Reviews:

1. Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite:

The Optical Lasso: Beware Of Neptune’s Dark Side by MarcCorwin is a thrilling science fiction adventure story. A dying boy. A creature that has lain dormant for thousands of years. One of the best leaders in all of mankind. Commander Jason Cody has been taken prisoner and tortured by an alien enemy. His cellmate, Cat, is a lieutenant, leader of The Fighting Fury, an elite women’s combat team. She is beautiful – too beautiful – and Jason has a hard time trusting her. But trust each other they must even after she discovers he’s been missing for years in a wormhole on the other side of Neptune with his Optical Lasso, an invention of his own that allowed him to see the future and the past. A wormhole that is now avoided by all because of the deadly enemy that lurks within. Can they learn to trust one another long enough to face the battle ahead?

The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune’s Dark Side by Marc Corwin is a snappy and unique sci-fi tale that spans 40 years and two timelines – the past and the present. This is a thoroughly fascinating story, one in which I couldn’t help but become engrossed. There is plenty of action in the battles that are fought across the universe, in the incredible weapons, including the Optical Lasso, and in the creatures that Marc has created, showing a very active imagination. This is a story of good against bad but it is a unique take on the sci-fi genre. Tyunee is he descriptive nature of the story leaves you in no doubt as to what’s what and leads you through the story as though you are living it yourself. This is one journey you won’t want to miss; entertaining and a real page-turner!

Review Rating: 5 Stars – Congratulations on your 5-star review!

(Anne-Marie Reynolds is assistant professor of Music History at the Faculty of the School of the Arts of the State University of New York at Geneseo.)

2. K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite:

The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune’s Dark Side is a work of science fiction aimed at young adults and above, and was penned by author Marc Corwin. Set in the near future of the galaxy in the 22nd century, the re-emergence of a missing planet sets in motion a chain of events which could prove cataclysmic for human life. Lieutenant Cat Miles is an elite fighter and a strong leader, but even she feels out of her depth when she finds herself captured and imprisoned with a commander who went missing a very long time ago. Learning to trust him could be the key to survival, or it might spell her doom and that of planet Earth itself.

Although young adults can read this novel due to the mild nature of its more violent scenes, the characters fit more into an adult reading niche based on their ages and motivations. Cat is a strong female lead who maintains her femininity well despite the male-dominated nature of the sci-fi and battlefield settings. She and Jason have good chemistry which is highly readable, and together they lead a strong plot line which is well conceived and well delivered to produce interesting elements of mystery, surprise, action, and discovery as the story progresses. The mystery of Vixus transports us to a strange new world which is highly atmospheric, verging on sci-fi horror in its most tense moments. Overall, The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune’s Dark Side is a tense and engaging sci-fi tale that fans of the genre are certain to enjoy.

(K.C. Finn is the author of more than 25 novels in just five years in the writing business. She is multi-award-winning, having received the coveted Chanticleer Best Gothic Fiction 2016 award for her novel The Book Of Shade, a 78,000-word fantasy novel that took just 16 days to pen.)

3. Ray Simmons for Readers’ Favorite:

I thoroughly enjoyed The Optical Lasso by Marc Corwin. I found it an interesting mixture of space opera, alien invasion, scientific intrigue, and good old-fashioned action and adventure. It also had an element of male-female interaction that boosted the human element of the story and added a certain tension to the whole thing. I really enjoyed this story and feel it might make a good series with a little time and serious thought. Marc Corwin has some big ideas and, given time, these ideas and characters can become part of a great science fiction series. The plot and action sequences are superb, and the writing is great. I really feel that The Optical Lasso could become the beginning and cornerstone of a series on par with the works of David Webb or even The Foundation series by the late great Isaac Asimov.

We start The Optical Lasso in dire straits indeed. Jason Cody, the supreme commander of the human defense effort, has been taken prisoner. He is joined in this alien cell by Lieutenant Janet Miles, the leader of an elite platoon of combat soldiers. These two characters are written beautifully, and it is easy to see why mankind may have a chance despite the technological advantages that the aliens have. The characters are sympathetic and represent the best humans have to offer. The ex plot is complex but makes perfect sense as we go back and forth through time to see how we got to the present day. Marc Corwin is a great writer and The Optical Lasso is a very good tale.

Review Rating: 5 Stars – Congratulations on your 5-star review!

(Ray Simmons is the author of four distinguished works: Yeh-Shen: A Traditional Chinese Cinderella Tale, The China Formula: Crisis in the Party (The Lambros Legacy Book 1), The Four Greatest Chinese Folktales, and How To incorporate English Into Your Life Instead of Just Studying It All Your Life.)

4. James Wegg for Chanticleer Review:

“Join forces with Supreme Commander Cody to battle an all-powerful evil infecting the universe in this multi-faceted Sci-fi thrill ride!”

Marc Corwin’s non-linear novel is jam-packed with science from the present era and over a century into the future. The wide-ranging tale of good versus evil overflows with wormholes, various iterations of the “dark side,” a truly miraculous invention (the lasso), shape-shifters, creatures that would not be out of place in Jurassic Park (notably the deadly goth, bringing literal meaning to “bat out of hell”), and all manner of spacecraft. It’s a veritable buffet for sci-fi devotees!

At the center of it all is Jason Cody who nearly dies from what appears to be an incurable malady before reaching his seventh birthday, when a chance meeting with a puss-spewing creature immediately turns his fortunes around. The boy genius follows in his father’s footsteps into the U.S. space program and soon becomes the star astronaut. Using the science of his own invention while braving a treacherous wormhole on the way to Neptune and beyond, the incredible journey is accomplished in astonishing time, but Cody appears to have simultaneously vanished from the universe.

Along for the ride in every sense of the word, is Lieutenant Janet Miles (a.k.a., Cat), the famed leader of the Fighting Fury (an all-female rescue team taking on harrowing assignments in the 22nd century). Incredibly, she teams up with Supreme Commander Cody to break out of a torturous prison. The escape itself is almost as fantastic as the fact that her sudden partner ought to be well over a century old and is as buff as the day he hurled away from Earth.

The nemesis of nearly everyone in the book comes in the frequently altered shapes (evil incarnate predicted in the Centurions). Yet, it soon becomes apparent that this crimson entity who desperately wants to steal Cody’s lasso and put it to work for his own foul intentions is also the devil that wreaks havoc on Earth. Satan’s lair is the “now you see me, now you don’t” planet, Vixus, fully able to change its rotation and fueled by a mysterious force.

Corwin has set himself an enormous task creating this multi-layered narrative aided by a large supporting cast filled with god-fearing troops and leaders alongside heartless liars who covet power and glory at any cost. The timeline shifts and backstory excursions, aided by the chapter headings, work very well.

Finally, the ending is bound to produce mixed reactions, but without a doubt, readers will have a devil of a time getting there.

(James Wegg is managing editor of JWR an “independent global view of performing arts & film and a regular contributor to Rotten Tomatoes, Online Film Critics Society, The American Record Guide and Chanticleer Review.)

5. Diane Donovan for Midwest Book Review:

The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune’s Dark Side gives space opera readers a run for their money in a galaxy-wide sprint set in 2140 CE that combines the hard science of a planet that regularly reverses its rotation and vanishes, with a military battle that involves Earth and spacers in a riveting clash of people and ideals.

To define Marc Corwin’s story as that of a traditional space opera alone would do it a disservice. Subtle nuances of challenge and change run deeper than a surface-level action piece. Nuances range from a female leader who defies her own perfection as she faces off with a male counterpart who has proven himself unreliable and unpredictable, to a planet which holds the same properties—the promise of immense, untapped, yet unreliable power.

Space opera usually is questionable in its science and often overly melodramatic in its action, but Corwin’s story resides in the outer limits of new possibilities, whether he’s presenting a woman whose quandary is whether or not to trust and throw her cards in with a male counterpart, or an evolving relationship that mirrors the same questions about Earth’s alliances and survival.

Action-packed descriptions embracing science and military strategy alike will delight readers seeking a fast pace in their sci-fi reading:

“Okay, people. Stay sharp. On my command, kill all backup systems except for life support. The ship will throw off an electronic signature of being mortally wounded. With the Indiana ’s power shut down, we’ll piggyback off their high intensity tractor beam, which will sling us back toward the beam’s source. It should be quite the ride.”

It is quite the ride, as Corwin leads readers into realms of possibility that include psychological entanglements, attacks, murderous actions, and danger that comes not just from the elusive, mysterious planet Vixus, but from within ranks and individuals.

The result is a compelling saga that romps through universes and psyches with equal force, leading a host of characters through nefarious intentions and puzzling physical realms of possibility. These are inhabited by spies, devil’s disciples, and the secret of an optical lasso which “must stay hidden, or all will be lost.”

Libraries strong in action-packed sci-fi favored with a high-octane dose of engrossing scientific possibilities will find The Optical Lasso a winner that ends with an unexpected rise from the ashes of possibility and a “to be continued” conclusion that leaves the door wide open for the next book.

(Diane Donovan has been reviewing books for over 35 years. She is a generalist reviewer who enjoys fiction, nonfiction and children’s books.)

6. The Moving Words:

Deep within the hidden headquarters of the Galactic Corps, Admiral Thomas Nathaniel Burns ponders the mysteries of the universe. The sudden discovery of Vixus, a planet with the ability to reverse its rotation, sets in motion a series of events that leads Captain Knight and the crew of the Indiana on a mission to investigate its unique properties. As they venture to the outer reaches of the Milky Way, they encounter unexpected obstacles, elusive truths, and a power struggle that could reshape the galaxy. With the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, the race to uncover Vixus’ secrets becomes a high-stakes endeavor.

From the first chapter, readers are drawn into the story of Supreme Commander Jason Cody and his quest for justice and revenge against the dark forces. The first pages show Cody imprisoned by unknown captors. Another key character, Lieutenant Janet “Cat” Miles, enters the picture as he navigates his captivity. Cat is a skilled warrior and leader of an elite combat force. She is also taken prisoner, and to her surprise, she finds herself confined alongside Cody, who disappeared years ago after accidentally going through a wormhole on Neptune’s dark side. Their meeting marks a pivotal moment as they must learn to lean on each other to survive their shared ordeal.

“The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune’s Dark Side” highlights the significance of trust between these two leaders and features adventures, aliens, exciting battles, and mysterious elements.

Marc Corwin captivates readers with a premise that challenges their understanding of the galaxy and presents a mystery to unravel. His world-building is remarkable, immersing readers in a future where technology and space travel have evolved to new frontiers. He balances scientific concepts with storytelling, making complex ideas understandable. And that is why readers can easily follow along as they journey alongside the characters through a thrilling space opera.

As the story unfolds, this book brings readers to a world where the boundaries of known science are tested, and the quest for wisdom becomes a race against time. The characters are well-developed, each with their motivations and flaws. Their camaraderie allows readers to connect emotionally with their triumphs and setbacks.

One of the strengths of the writing is its exploration of scientific theories. Corwin seamlessly integrates elements of astrophysics, wormholes, and parallel universes into the narrative, providing an intellectually stimulating experience. The book also explores the themes of trust, survival, and sacrifice and effectively blends fiction and fantasy, making it a must-read for fans of both genres. In addition, it is important to mention the philanthropic aspect of the book. The fact that half of the royalties earned from the sale will be donated to the Grace Science Foundation is a worthy initiative. This foundation aims to aid in developing cost-effective cures for rare diseases that affect millions of people globally.

With “The Optical Lasso: Beware of Neptune’s Dark Side,” readers will find themselves engrossed in the quest to uncover the secrets of Vixus, pondering the vastness of the Milky Way and contemplating the limits of human knowledge. Corwin’s work is recommended for those who seek an exploration of the cosmos and those who relish a quirky impression of storylines not often found in novels of this genre.

7. Kirkus Book Review, May 2024

Spacefaring hero Jason Cody, long presumed lost, resurfaces to face off against alien invaders and the devil himself in Corwin’s SF novel.

Earth’s legendary ace pilot Jason Cody is a prisoner on a mysterious, hellish planet called Vixus: He’s been captured by grotesque, mustard-yellow “tripod” aliens in the year 2140. They have tortured and vivisected Jason for a century (he’s now essentially a limbless torso) to learn his military secrets, but the hero has confidence God will get him out of even this jam. Indeed, God (or fate, or chance) sends Jason a savior in the supermodel-gorgeous form of Janet “Cat” Miles, leader of a fearsome, all-female “Fighting Fury” team sent by the Army Corps to investigate Vixus (which seems to reverse its rotation and appear at different places around the galaxy). Her perilous foray to Vixus coincides with a coup back on Earth launched by treacherous, secular military men against the faith-based ruling council; a cabal of rogue officers are eager to learn what incredible technology makes Vixus what it is and how to weaponize it. Jason Cody has had more than one narrow escape in the course of his illustrious, unnaturally extended lifetime—he was a boy dying of a leukemia-like illness in 2002 when he encountered a weird, yellow, tripod-shaped alien creature dredged up after spending 35,000 years in the La Brea Tar Pits. Oozing pus from the creature permeated Jason’s body, healing him and boosting his already formidable intellect through the stratosphere.

As a young man and daring military pilot intent upon investigating a bizarre wormhole anomaly past Neptune, Jason combined his “Chi” natural energy (“the fundamental life force that flows through everything”) with technology to make the optical lasso, a light-bending device. When this piece of tech travels faster than light into space, it intercepts and returns light leaving Earth, allowing the optical lasso to show the future. By these means, Jason (after regenerating his limbs via alien tech) gets forewarned of an impending, nightmarish alien invasion not only targeting Earth but also the Centurions, who are (mostly) friendly, multi-legged lizard-creatures (though they shape-shift into various forms) whose contact with Homo sapiens was brought about by Cody. The master villain behind all of this malice? Blazing eyes, red skin, horns, a pitchfork, and scripture passages indicate it is none other than Satan.

In addition to quoting numerous popular song titles and lyrics throughout, the enthusiastic prose packs on the comic-book superhero references (“Technically I’m more like Green Lantern, except I gained strength from the color yellow instead of inheriting a weakness”), emphasizing the pulpier rather than the preachier elements of the material. The action rarely lets up in a narrative that feels like a rollercoaster riding another rollercoaster. The plot delivers generous helpings of surprises, though many of the twists hinge on very sketchy ground rules and shaky science (even Marvel and DC costumed avengers pretend to follow a playbook now and then). The dialogue is smart-alecky mixed with macho-expository (“looks like something scared him to death before ripping him apart and chewing on his entrails”). Lucifer, the ultimate bad guy, is used somewhat sparingly in this outing, which is a wise move—theologians will likely agree that John Milton gave him more depth. A sequel is in the works.

A Bible-referencing hellzapoppin SF comic-strip adventure.

Reviews Excerpts:

“Everything in this book contains the ideal description of a science fiction book. A magical invention, a love story, a bunch of aliens, and a secret!” — Marsha James, Goodreads

“I’m at a loss for words with everything that this sci-fi novel made me think and feel. It moved me in ways I never thought possible from a work of fiction. His writing flows, and his readers flow with it.” — Emma Wells, Goodreads

“Every turn of the page feels like I’m walking through a dark alley full of popping thrilling adventures and mysterious creatures.” — Sarah Evans, Goodreads

“The Optical Lasso’s story line is unique, provocative, realistic, and full of stuff you have never seen, heard, or read about in your life.” — Margaret Scott, Goodreads

“It is a delightful blend of science fiction and superhero adventure, Corwin strings together improbable themes and makes them work.” — Tam Rose, Onlinebookclub

“An interesting mixture of space opera, alien invasion, scientific intrigue, and good old-fashioned action and adventure. The Optical Lasso could become the beginning and cornerstone of a series on par with the works of David Webb or even The Foundation series by the late great Isaac Asimov.” — Ray Simmons, Reader’s Favorite

“When you start this book…buckle up! It is fast-paced and truly intense! The author gives a science fiction lover everything with this book… intense situations, thrills, drama, intense battle scenes, aliens, and tons of danger. I can easily see myself rereading this book again and again.” — Seraphia, Vine Voice

“I enjoyed the story, character development, and dialogue. There were plenty of plot twists that I didn’t see coming and that added to the book’s mystique. It has been awhile since I enjoyed a book this much. It’s a well written and unique Sci-Fi adventure with perfect pacing. Highly recommended. — Piaras Vine Voice

“It is a fast-paced thriller brimming with excitement, replete with descriptive and menacing life forms, intergalactic battles, legendary space soldiers and equally talented and capable women combatants.” — Brian Aird, Space Cowboy, Amazon Review

“The Optical Lasso by Marc Corwin is the epitome of well-written science fiction; aliens taking captors, space covert missions, and deadline destruction of Earth. The author draws his readers into the story with intense danger, action, and drama. This is the novel science fiction fans will savor. You can picture in your mind, the thoughts and actions of the characters as the author skillfully unfolds this amazing adventure. — Jo Jo Masson, Amazon Review

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