Author: Ray Melnik
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 978-1-4502-1727-9

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You could describe Ray Melnik's novella, Burnished Bridge as two interlocking stories- one science fiction and the other romance, but it is really more than meets the eye.

It is a series of moods and slices of life delicately captured. And, I am not even sure if I can describe it as having a beginning, middle, and end. Rather, through the voice of the principal protagonist, Alex Dael, the story gradually blossoms. Upon reaching the last few words, you sigh, as if you have just watched a “good-feeling” romance movie that lives on in the imagination. In fact, you would most likely concur with the Prologue's opening sentence: “No matter how successful we are in life, any satisfaction gained from all our achievements is diminished without someone with whom to share them.”

With great finesse, Burnished Bridge focuses on a brilliant and successful scientist, Alex, his colleague Dr. Elina Maina and Beatrice, a ten year old Borneo Orangutan, that is just over a meter tall and very intelligent. For over seven years, Alex and Elina have been working in the SciLab on an experiment called the Glint Project that involves a transportory force that would allow matter and even animals, as the Orangutan, to be transported, more or less instantaneously, from one location to another without passing through any points between them. (This concept has been widely used in science fiction and in some forms, it has also appeared in physical theories).

You can well imagine how ecstatic Alex and Elina were when a wormhole was discovered through which another planet is believed to be able to sustain life. As I am quite unenlightened when it comes to science, I researched the topic of wormhole, and I was informed that these space-time tubes act as shortcuts connecting distant regions of space-time. Consequently, if the opportunity should arise where you could journey through a wormhole, you would be able to travel between the two regions faster than a beam of light if it moved through normal space time. With this in mind, Alex and Elina decide to teleport Beatrice to the newly discovered planet- a journey that will only take about one hundred and forty minutes and not forty thousand years if taken with a spaceship.

While all of this is going on in the lab, Alex meets Janine, a woman considerably younger than himself, who presently is in an abusive relationship. Alex falls madly in love with Janine and tries to persuade her that she must leave her partner.

What I enjoy most about Melnik's writing is that he has a wild imagination, and he assumes that you will come along with him on his sometimes bizarre romps. And what makes you a willing partner is his ability to spin a good yarn, with all the right elements in place, even if it is a touch improbable. There is also the ease wherein he seamlessly interweaves the everlasting accessibility of his characters, the professional and personal relationship between Alex and Elina, and the sweetness of Alex's love for Janine. Incidentally, some of these components are, likewise, skillfully assembled in his other works, The Room and To Your Own Self Be True, both of which I have previously reviewed. Once again, Melnik has displayed his fine talent as an author.

Click Here To Read Norm's Interview With Ray Melnik

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