philosophical science fiction in a multi-media context
Songs of the Zhongzi: Professional Reviews of the First BookNote: in the second edition, the title of the first book has been altered to "Songs of the Zhongzi" from the original "Shianshenka, the Rise and Fall of the Perfect Creation". The reviews below are from the first edition
Review from Future Fire
Review from The Dying Book Affair, score 5 stars:
Review from Troll King, score 5 stars:
Review from Speculative Fiction, Score 8/10:
Review from Bill Silva of Reviewers in Black:
Songs of the Zhongzi: Reader's Comments on the First Book (from amazon.com)
“Seed the Universe!” a philosopher wrote in a well-known science magazine around a year ago. Now Rowen Sivertsen has done it and I like her story better! Colorful, thoughtful and intelligent!
To begin with it was difficult to imagine that it was even possible to become interested in these strange little creatures, but as it turned out I quickly became curious as to what would happen to them. In fact it got quite enthralling and by the end I didn’t want to put the book down.
I was hooked right from the beginning. I became immersed in the strange world and its characters, and as I approached the end of the book I was sorry that it had to end. I could have happily consumed twice the number of words! I was also impressed with the author’s poetry skills.
A fascinating parody of the human condition. The Zhongzi live a simple existence, rendered complex by curiosity and ingenuity and are finally brought down by misunderstandings and megalomania. I was gripped by the story and liked the little spark of hope that the two surviving colonies offered. I hope that it is not too close a parody!
This book really set me thinking: What would I communicate to my children if I only have one golden hour? What would our world be like if we did not have to struggle for food and water and shelter, but could engage in everything else? It all happens in the beautiful, colourful world of Shianshenka. Long after I had put down the book and seen all the videos, I couldn’t let go.
Not quite science fiction, not quite fantasy, not quite moral fable, but something interesting in between.
Shianshenka, the book and the videos together, draw the reader into a world of innocence and adventure, creating inner pictures of beauty and enchantment. What would happen if the agents that we believe lead to evil were removed? Would curiosity, good intentions and engagement eventually lead to “evil” actions? Are human ethics universal? Quite apart from being a fascinating story well told, for me, this is where the unique tensions at the core of this book lie. Read it!
Shianshenka creates an engaging world of curious creatures and deep meaning. This world is unlike any other fantasy or science fiction novel I have come across. It is precisely the alien nature of the world and the creatures within it that create such a wonderful and fascinating platform for exploring and highlighting the very human issues of love, survival, social progress and betrayal. It is a real page-turner, and I particularly enjoyed how quickly the reader is immersed into and naturally grasps a fundamentally different universe, with all it‘s consequences.
The author has managed to create a complete, consistent and fascinating world.
I thoroughly enjoyed Shianshenka, every time I thought I have figured out this bizarre world another strange surprise would come along. A delightful retreat from everyday life!
Imagine a world where life is totally different to life as we know it. The protagonists are intelligent creatures with an appetite for life, creatures unlike anything on Earth, that create a society based on an ideology and a love of beauty. This book can be read on many different levels. It takes our imagination on a long trip and will be a godsend for anyone looking for fantasy and adventure “with that little extra”.
This book can be read on so many levels. As an adventure it takes the reader into strange situations, new sets of rules and a colorful kaleidoscope of strange creatures, all of which is fun. But at a deeper level it parodies very human questions such as how to develop healthy communities, how to cater for a questing intelligence, how to deal with diverging ideologies and how to prevent boredom in a perfect society. Taken together with the song videos, the result is a product that will capture the imagination of people of all ages from young teenagers upwards.