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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Gem is a science fiction short story written by R.J. Conte. Soleil Punicello had the most important and, for her, the saddest job on the planet. Topha was teetering on the brink of destruction, ravaged by earthquakes and fault lines, and indeed the planet would have been doomed to extinction but for the fact that the prayers of its inhabitants had been answered; the first Omicron had been sent to save the planet. This extraordinarily gifted child had used its powers to keep the planet whole until the effort proved too much, and the child had died. Invariably, a replacement Omicron would be born shortly and, thereafter, those inevitable deaths.
The parents of these gifted children knew their duty was to instantly surrender their child to Tuson Industries where the Omicron would live out his or her brief span. Soleil would be the new child’s companion, but this new Omicron was rather different from his predecessors. His parents had successfully kept him out of the public eye for his first eleven years, and the powers that be now worried how he’d adapt to the confinement and rigors of his new life. Soleil’s first lesson in dealing with him was becoming aware that he could read her mind. Her second was the realization that he had always known exactly what was in store for him. But could she somehow save him from an annihilation he didn’t fear? Could he survive a core quake?
R.J. Conte’s post apocalyptic, science fiction short story, Gem, is a tense and enthralling tale about a young boy who is destined to sacrifice his life for his planet, and the young woman assigned to be his companion. But it goes much further than that as the reader soon discovers that the child is, in so many ways, the elder and Soleil the innocent. I felt as though time stood still as I followed their interactions and metaphysical discussions. Conte’s writing style is smooth and flowing, and it perfectly suits the story line; and his characters are credible and unforgettable. Gem is most highly recommended.