Roland Allnach

multi-award winning author of the strange and surreal


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Remnant - Reviews & Interviews

  For reader reference:

A PDF excerpt of Remnant is available here for your reading curiosity.
Available in multiple formats at Amazon and as signed copies in this site's Bookstore.

  Reviews for Remnant:

  --Review by  Read the review below.
  --Review by San Francisco Review.  (jump here down this page).
  --Review by  Read the review below.
  --Review by  Read the review below.
  --Review by Book Review (this site is no longer open).  Read the review below.
  --Review by  Read the review below.
  --Review by ForeWord Clarion.  Read the review below.
  --Review by Midwest Book Review.  Read the review below.
  --Review by Readers' Favorite.  Read the review below.


** 'Finalist', Science Fiction category of 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards
**  Bronze Medalist, Science Fiction, 2012 Readers Favorite Book Awards
**  Award Winner - Finalist, Fiction/Science Fiction, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards

**  Bronze Medal, 'Short Stories', 2014 Feathered Quill Book of the Year Awards

  Interviews for Remnant:
--Read my bio page at here.
  --Read my interview at here.
  --Interview at Feathered Quill, read it here.
  --Interview with Cynthia Brian on World Talk Radio; listen to the episode here.



"Remnant" by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb,

  One of science fiction’s most outstanding rising stars, the talented author Roland Allnach, has an anthology of three creative and brilliant novellas out now, Remnant, that should be a hit with anyone who loves science fiction, in general, and the Military SF genre in particular. He’s already had one of his short stories nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and he’s had several of them appear in various publications. Remnant’s three novellas, “All the Fallen Angels,” “Enemy, I Know You Not,” and “Remnant,” mark a distinct growth for the author, and each are gems of suspense and craftmanship that will keep you on the edge of your seat. They’re all great stories on their own merits, but collected together in the pages of this anthology, they make for a must-read volume. In this review, I’ll briefly discuss each of the three novellas that make up Remnant and get into some of the reasons I think each one is worth reading, and why the name of Roland Allnach is rapidly garnishing the attention of science fiction fans around the world.

  “All the Fallen Angels,”starts off the anthology with a bang. Captain Stohko Jansing (he was a Colonel and is referred to as such in scenes from his past in the short story) has had a history that was both distinguished and infamous, in turn. He is haunted by his memories of what happened to him on the beautiful and spell-binding planet Hermium, how he went from being a peacekeeper to a killer, and his and his wife’s desires to have children. Stohko discovers he can’t escape his past, and having been put on trial for his war-crimes, including shooting and killing a nine-year-old girl.

  He is the captain of his own ship, trying to leave his past behind him, but he’s drawn back into dealing with the military when an IS agent, Colonel Osler, makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Stohko’s ship will be repaired, and his mounting debts paid off, if he will agree to towing a ship, the Chyrsopoeia, to Hermium to dump it off there. It’s a high-risk transport–Stohko is not told what is inside the ship, but it seems that whatever it is makes the job one no one else wants to take. It’s a cursed ship, that even its rats abandoned. But, can he and his crew make it to Hermium, without an effect known as Hermium euphoria driving them to actions they wouldn’t ordinarily commit?

  “Enemy, I Know You Not,” is an excellent story about what happens when one’s enemies can attack you, even in the realm of virtual reality, within one’s own mind, and transform people who are seemingly your allies into your enemies. What can you do to fight an enemy who knows how to infiltrate your mind, and make you into a mole, ready to turn against and kill people on your own side? And, when you realize that it might be yourself who is the traitorous mole, acting against your own will, can you live with the guilt? When virtual reality becomes actual reality, and your actions cause your fellow soldiers to die, is there any way to right the wrongs you’ve committed?

  That’s the basic premise of “Enemy, I Know You Not.” Training Officer Sheffield has got some “new meat,” trainees who are inexperienced, to replace those Sergeant Ellister and Lieutenant Hovland lost in their mission to end an insurgency that took place on the planet Tropico. Before the new soldiers engage in battle, they have to undergo a virtual training exercise, or “sim run”. They are linked up together, and while unconscious, engage the enemy in a training exercise. They can be “killed,” but as long as they are awakened in time, they will return back to life. But, if too much time elapses, they cannot be brought back, and they will die in reality. This is a very cool story, and I liked reading about what happens when the men finally realize they have a traitor in their midst, and wonder who it is, and paranoia strikes a chord of fear in them.

  The final tale in the trilogy, the title story, “Remnant,” is a suspenseful, page-turning conclusion to the anthology. It’s about what happens when a terrible plague hits the Earth, and kills billions of people. Only one in fifty thousand are left alive, those who have a natural immunity. This story is about how one of humanity’s “remnants,” a man known in it as Peter, tries to survive and start a new life for himself in Connecticut. Pockets of the survivors have gathered together, for basic protection and to better obtain the necessities of life, like food, shelter, and clothing for everyone. But, this also means living under the rules of the community, and giving up a part of one’s freedom. Will the plague prove to be a chance for mankind’s remnants to create a better world for themselves, or will it only result in a return to how they were prior to the plague?

  Peter (teamed up with another survivor, Jim MacPherson) rescues a woman, Emily Lewis, from a man who has been chasing after her for two days. The man claims to be a cop, but Peter believes he’s been trying to catch Emily for other reasons, so he shoots and kills the man. Peter rationalizes that if he hadn’t killed the man, he would have come back, and tried to kill them. Will he find love with Emily, or is she just using him, trying to recruit him to her point of view? This concluding story is probably my favorite of the three. Each deals with the decisions we sometimes have to face, and how are lives, and those of others, is effected by them. Do our choices, like those of Peter’s in “Remnant,” make us “more human,” or “less human”?

  Remnant is an action-packed anthology of Military SF, with the title story dealing with how mankind’s remnants survive after a global plague. Each of the three novellas is a beautifully crafted gem of a story, making the collection one I would highly recommend to any fans of science fiction. Roland Allnach is an author who is one of SF’s rising stars, and if you like Military SF, this is an anthology you’ll definitely want to check out!



"Remnant" by Roland Allnach
 Reviewed by San Francisco Review

  When humans finally visit a far-off world, there will be no escape from our basic traits. No matter what the future holds, jealousy, trust and greed will always be with us, and Roland Allnach knows this. In the debut book, Remnant: An Anthology, he brings us thoughtful tales of conflict and the folly of being human. The book is the combination of three short tales, “All the Fallen Angels,” “Enemy, I Know You Not” and “Remnant.”

  While the three are set in different places, all carry on a continuing message–a message that the past will always affect our future. The relatable themes also make reading the book a personal journey of the human condition. It is hard not to read it and think, “If I was in Peter’s place, what would I do?” I also enjoyed the use of exploring the concept of what makes us human. Many of the stories deal with the issue of the “natural state” and how memory makes us who we are–issues that can only be truly explored in the science fiction genre.

  Out of the three short stories, “Remnant” left a huge impression on me. The story revolves around survivors of a devastating plague. The dynamics of the world and the philosophical subject matter explored was outstanding. It was chilling how real the characters felt and how naturally the plot progressed. It was like reading the diary of a survivor, and it was very intimate. I liked it so much that I hope the world of “Remnant” will be revisited sometime in the future. Allnach’s writing style can be described as smart, elegant, and addicting, and you will find yourself deep into the story before you know it. Remnant: An Anthology is an accomplishment of a book for both die-hard fans and those new to science fiction genre.



"Remnant" by Roland Allnach
 Reviewed by Amy Lignor,

  This is an extremely interesting book - if a bit confusing at the beginning - that includes three separate stories, with the same underlying theme.

  Readers begin with "All The Fallen Angels." Here, people are brought to a place called Nexus 9 - an outpost in space - where Stohko Jansing is still reliving some of the worst moments in his life. Stohko is a man who once was a major player in the military on a planet called Hermium. This was a planet of brilliant crystal seas and beautiful tropic sunsets. In fact, it was far more beautiful than Earth could ever think of being.  Unfortunately for Stohko, something hideous happened on that planet, and he was arrested on the charge of war crimes. To save his life, he gave himself up to medical research and a woman named Siona, so that he could stay alive to get home to the woman he truly loved more than life.  When a man from Stohko’s past (and present, unfortunately) comes to him to let him know he must do a job, Stohko’s life becomes even worse. He must return to Hermium and “tow” a ship that contains people he thought he’d been done with back at the tribunal. His past continues to haunt him, as his mind flitters from past to present - reality to imaginary events - trying desperately to figure out who and what he has become.

  In story number two, "Enemy, I Know You Not," readers are once again brought into a war. And again, as in "All the Fallen Angels," some of it is truth, while other parts are pure simulation, yet the characters have a hard time understanding what is fact and what is fiction. In this, we meet up with a Sergeant by the name of Ellister; he’s not in charge, but has a tendency to usurp Lieutenant Hovland, who has been “through the absolute wringer” when it comes to the worst of humanity. The “training events” that these particular soldiers must go through will keep the reader glued to the page…guaranteed.

  Leaving the best for last, the author provides a heart-wrenching story about how Earth may just end up one day if we’re not more careful. In "Remnant," the plague has struck. There are very few people left on the earth, and the ones who are range from the most frightening examples of mankind to true heroes who want to save all they can…and, perhaps, find love again. Two men meet in the woods - one is named Peter. Peter is a man with a gun and a mission. He has lived with his memories of the family he lost for so long, and hasn’t communicated with others in so long, that trust is not exactly something Peter has a great deal of. When he saves a woman from a particular “slime bag,” Peter soon learns that loneliness breeds bad things, and that he needs the company of others to survive. But what he first must accomplish, is discovering who to believe and who is absolutely lying.

  With each story offered, the author gets better and better. He also makes solid points about faith; trust; hope; and the horrible things that can happen to a person’s mind when they feel desperate and alone.

Quill Says: An interesting read. "Remnant," especially, is one story that all individuals should read and strive to understand.



"Remnant" by Roland Allnach
 Reviewed by Kam Aures,

  Roland Allnach’s “Remnant: An Anthology” is a collection of three different science fiction novellas:  “All the Fallen Angels,” Enemy, I Know You Not,” and “Remnant.”

  “…there she stands, among the whispers of ruin, caught between so much anger and hurt and betrayal.  So dark, that night:  the whisper of the wind, the patter of the rain, the steam of humid air; it had the feel of dissolution, of tears and loss and futility.  And there she stands among it all, among the whispers, dehumanized, for what is her life- any life- but the lost murmur of whispers in the dark? 

  She was only nine.  I shot her anyway.”

  So begins the first novella in the anthology, “All the Fallen Angels.”  This is the longest of the three stories at ninety-seven pages, but don’t let the short length fool you.  Each of the stories packs a big punch.  I enjoyed Allnach’s writing style, particularly in this first tale.  He doesn’t just lay out all of the information up front in his writing; he gradually divulges detail by detail until all of the pieces fit together and the story is complete.

  I found it interesting that he chose his title story, “Remnant,” to put as the last story in the anthology.  “Remnant” focuses on the remaining survivors after a plague sweeps through.  Of the three works in the book this was my favorite, but it was also one of the shortest in length.  I wish it would have been longer as it was truly an intriguing story.  I would have loved to see a full length novel made out of this one story.

  I believe that “Remnant: An Anthology” will appeal to those who enjoy science fiction novels, particularly military science fiction.  Allnach’s intelligent writing style is quite appealing and I expect we will see more from him in the future.



"Remnant" by Roland Allnach
 Reviewed by Donn Gurney,

  Remnant – by Roland Allnach Mr. Allnach takes the reader into a new and strange universe of science fiction, fantasy, mystery and intrigue – much different from the science fiction with which this reviewer grew up in the late Forties and early Fifties, reading Heinlein, Asimov and Clarke. And, of course, our space explorations were national efforts with great shows of teamwork and cooperation. If there were intrigues on our space facilities, it was kept well away from the public. So, the complexities of the Remnant plots and relationships are a far cry from personal reading experiences. It’s almost if the author had taken a familiar place to many of us – a massive truck stop in space, much like those that exist wherever our Interstate highways meet across our country.

  Of course, the things stationed there and the people living in this strange environment are far different from the denizens of the Nexus and reflect the author’s vivid imagination and his ability to twist plot and characters into something very special. The fact that his “day job” has been working night shifts in a hospital has given him a keen insight into a variety of human qualities and faults – all brought together as humans expand their universe with the “old Earth.” Space exploration and the possibilities of new world’s colonization was an exciting and imaginative feature of the science fiction novels created by the early writing masters, going back to Jules Verne.

  Reading those books does not really prepare one for Mr. Allnach’s vision of our future and, in fact, to this reader he presents a very dismal prospect of humans carrying their traits into new and unexpected places while still hauling the human emotional baggage with them. Of course, he is writing about a very distant future and the earlier writers thought it was coming much sooner, especially once the Russians and Americans began to tickle the fringes of what lies beyond. I rather hope Mr. Allnach is mistaken as to the future outside or solar system but, of course, this will all transpire long after the current crop of readers is long gone. But, down inside I have a gnawing feeling he is right – the explorers and colonizers of the future may well think and perform as do his characters. He writes well and cleanly, forcing the reader to form his own mental images of these new worlds and their inhabitants.

  This, to my mind, is the mark of a solid writer and I should hope that Mr. Allnach continues in this vein. This is a book well both the reading and the thinking that comes with the reading. If you’re interested in a somewhat different tale of what’s ahead, this is a “Must Read.” If you’re not so interested, it may be a very disturbing book but still worth the effort.



"Remnant" by Roland Allnach
 Reviewed by Richard R. Blake,

  Roland Allnach’s “Remnant: An Anthology” consists of three stories within the science fiction genre. The stories are linked in theme by characters seeking self-truth and redemption through finding their true moral center.

  The first of the three novellas, “All the Fallen Angels,” is the story of Stohko, a convicted war criminal and his attempt to make peace with his past. He is filled with paranoia, guilt, confusion, self-deception, hostility and hate.

  In the second novella, “Enemy, I Know You Not,” a military officer, Lieutenant Hovland, is assigned a group of recruits for simulated training exercises. He is tortured with corruptive thoughts of rebellion, order, and the illusion of control while he tries to find his loyalty in paranoia of suspicion and mistrust.

  The final novella, titled “Remnant.” continues with the theme of behavioral research and centers around the conflicted emotions of Peter Lowry, the survivor of a global pandemic. Peter is confronted with the prospect of making peace with past memories when, Jim MacPherson and Emily Lewis, two other survivors attempt to bring him back from self-imposed isolation.

  Influenced by the writing of mythology and classical literature, Allnach follows a pattern in his writing using character driven themes. Although he writes primarily in the Science Fiction genre he develops depth and substance to his characters in situations outside of the realm of our “common world.”

  Each of the three novellas in the anthology follows a pattern of a nightmare of “tangled, convoluted confusion.” Stohko experienced Hermium euphoria, chaotic eruptions of jumbled moments in time in “All the Fallen Angels.” He was plagued by a trance-like weaving in an out of a delirious dream moving from guilt of the past, the realities of the present, and the hopelessness of the future.

  Lieutenant Hovland lost his sense of purpose in “Enemy, I Know You Not.” When a malfunction at the simulator turned a training level exercise into an actual lethal fight for survival, Hovland found himself suspected of subversion. This created a feeling of paranoia, suspicion, exhaustion, futility, betrayal and retribution.

  In “Remnant” Peter Lowry becomes a prime example of traumatic stress syndrome as he works through the negative characteristics of blind obsession, mistrust, suspicion, guilt, and the positive qualities of genuine empathy, concern, discipline and loyalty.

  I especially appreciated Roland’s literary style:
-- His vivid word pictures
-- His insights demonstrated through character driven dialog
-- His creative imagination
-- His use of foreshadowing

  Allnach’s writing in “Remnant: An Anthology” is haunting, begging for an interactive response from the reader in an honest self appraisal; asking the “what if” questions created by identifying with the protagonist in well written literature. Roland Allnach is destined to become recognized for his contributions in whatever genre of writing he may choose.



Remnant, by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Peter Dabbene, ForeWord Clarion

  With Remnant, Roland Allnach presents three novellas that promise to haunt the reader long after the cover has been closed. Though the title refers specifically to the last story in this collection, Remnant also indicates the dystopian future in which all three stories take place, a future in which exploration and technology have advanced far enough to spread the human condition into the far reaches of space.

  The first story, "All the Fallen Angels," begins with a dream, setting the tone for a tale of redemption sought in the shadow of a planet that seems to influence the emotional state of its inhabitants. The story is enjoyably surreal, bringing to mind Stanislaw Lem's Solaris, while remaining firmly grounded in the gritty details of the main character, a guilt-plagued military officer named Stohko.

  The second installment, "Enemy, I Know You Not," is a suspenseful action thriller featuring a squad of soldiers on a training mission gone awry, a situation in which the trust they've developed as comrades-in-arms is quickly destroyed, leaving them suspecting the worst of each other and questioning the morality of their cause. It's a more cerebral version of James Cameron's Alien in which, instead of being hunted by an insect-like alien, the marines target themselves.

  "Remnant," the finale, is reminiscent of elements of Cormac McCarthy's The Road or Stephen King's The Stand. After most of civilized society has been swept away by a plague, Peter Lowry has holed up by himself, suspicious of everyone and everything. Faced with a choice between rebuilding the world with other survivors or remaining alone with his memories, Peter is conflicted, as he tells a fellow survivor: "I despised the world-that-was. Even as I feared for my family when the plague came, part of me welcomed the anarchy with open arms, part of me relished the idea of having it all come crashing down, part of me had always longed for the time after it all fell apart and the twisted adventure of survival without any external check." But Peter Lowry has to decide if he really wants what he thinks he wants.

  Overall, the three pieces fit together nicely, without seeming forced. The characters feel authentic, not simply serving as dialogue devices, as in lesser-crafted science fiction tales. The questions raised are significant ones, posed thoughtfully without becoming preachy or overly didactic. While the text is marred occasionally by a misused or misspelled word, the writing is engrossing enough that these few mistakes are easily overlooked, specks of dirt on a nearly perfect gem of sci-fi.

  Remnant has been named a finalist in the science fiction category of the 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards, and Roland Allnach has previously been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His star is on the rise, and Remnant will surely not be the last of his writings left behind, but rather a bright precursor to a brilliant, not-so-dystopian future.

Remnant, by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Willis M. Buhle, Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Bookwatch

  The same thing that brings us a paradise can very easily bring us a wasteland. "Remnant" is a collection of three science fiction novellas from Roland Allnach as he presents unique tales of many futures and what we reach for to try to make sense of everything around our lives. With plenty to ponder and plenty to keep readers reading, "Remnant" is a fine assortment of thought, highly recommended.



Remnant, by Roland Allnach
Reviewed by Lee Ashford, Readers Favorite

"Remnant" consists of 3 stories, each of which could be titled "Remnant". The first, and the longest, story was 'All the Fallen Angels', a futuristic glimpse of a vacation resort planet, renowned for the innate sense of euphoria experienced by all who visit it. However, the permanent residents of the planet became overwhelmed and disenchanted with the constant euphoria, requiring the Navy to intercede and quell rebellion. The Colonel in charge went a bit overboard, and was convicted of war crimes. Given a choice between death or submitting to experimentation, he chose the latter, never guessing how brutal that would be. Therein lies the story, which alternates between the present time and various periods of flashbacks.

  The second story was 'Enemy, I Know You Not', which again involved military intervention to quell rebellions, but on many planets, as needed. After a particularly deadly intervention, new recruits were installed to replace the casualties. The entire platoon then entered into a computer simulated training battle - basically a very interactive video game - in which all the senses are involved; when a "sim" gets shot, the actual soldier feels the pain. If killed in the simulation, they merely wake up and remove the game-activating helmet. But a computer glitch traps the platoon in the game, and fatalities in the simulation result in actual deaths of the soldiers. Story three is 'Remnant' in which a global plague kills virtually the entire planet Earth, leaving only 1 in 50,000 to carry on as a remnant population. It focuses on one man who needed to come to terms with the loss of his family, while he, though unworthy, survived.

  This entire book was very well-written. The characters were well-developed and seemed like real people. It would be very difficult to read this without feeling a great deal of empathy for the characters. You will smile when good things happen to them, and feel their anxiety when bad things happen. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough; reading it will be an exceptional experience.


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