If only all lectures were as captivating and fascinating as those delivered by Dr. Lane Bravo! I would gladly sit through a few more! Chris Sweigard has delivered a sweet, alien world in his book, Dr. Lane Bravo’s Lectures on Bervin “The Blue”.
Dr. Lane Bravo, a Historical Scientist, travels through time and space to interview those who came into contact with the infamous Bervin and through them reveals Bervin’s exploits. Juxtaposing viewpoints of Bravo giving the lectures and the reflections of secondary characters, Sweigard draws us into the quest of Bervin to unite the Common Sense stones, thereby uniting the planet Keln and its peoples. These characters are entertaining, confusing, and at the same time richly portrayed. The Iaya sisters (three sisters of the same name) are especially amusing as they bicker and bumble out their versions of the truth of Bervin’s escapades as they smoke their pipes.
Bervin, himself, however much information we are told through the interviews, his journals, and Bravo’s own lectures remains somehow vaguely elusive throughout the story. It’s a bit like reading about George Washington today. We know his exploits and his triumphs and we see his iconic profile with his white-haired wig and prominent nose, however, as a real-life, breathing person, we will never quite be able to capture him. And so this is the case with our main character, Bervin. Sweigard presents us with a picturesque description of his physical appearance, but never really gets deep enough to allow us to feel anything for Bervin.
Likewise, the action in Dr. Bravo’s Lectures seems so far away, as it would have to be as we are mostly told about it through second-hand sources and never really brought directly into the action. As soon as the action begins, things seemed to get fuzzy around the edges, lacking details to bring the action sharply in focus.
Despite those two shortcomings, Sweigard has delivered to us a deep world in the planet Keln and Bervin “The Blue” with plush details, history, and intricate culture. Bravo! (Pun intended!) I look forward to the attending Bravo’s next lecture about Andl Zenl and his adventures with asteroids. 7 out of 10 stars.
Thanks to a very close friend of mine for this excellent review, I’ll be posting some more from them as the weeks go by!