PARADIGMS – Reviewed by Rick Fess

The book “Paradigms” by Chris McKenna is a story about a man named Malcolm. He is the main character in a futuristic society on earth, left to deal with their own survival after some event or catastrophe had eliminated most of the modern conveniences that we take for granted. Although man has evolved tremendously in terms of mental processes, and characters and creatures have been added that we would not be familiar with today, the underlying theme is one of good versus evil. This theme gives the book its spiritual fiction aspect, and Mr. McKenna combines his characters and setting together with this theme to provide an interesting and exciting book.


In the author’s interpretation of life in the future, Malcolm is a young Clansman who is just beginning to discover his place in his Clan. Earth at this time is made up of small individual “Clans” – groups of people who live together in their Clan – yet they are distinct from other clans and compete with each other for food, supplies and weapons. The book begins with Malcolm’s Clan raiding another – on these raids people are killed and wounded as a matter of routine. Their need for survival is much stronger than their fear of death, so the raids continue and have gone back and forth between the clans for some time.

Each Clan has its own group of leaders known as the Ring. These are the elder, most knowledgeable and experienced members of their Clan. The true “leader” of each Clan, however is known as The Laird. This leader and his group of men supposedly provide protection for the Clan. In doing so they take whatever they desire as payment, including the young girls who in turn are paid for their services. In spite of what these girls are required to do for the members of The Laird, many aspire and are even encouraged by their family members to pursue this path.

The goal of the young men in the clans is to become one of the members of The Laird’s army. They train specifically for this with each other, and competitions are held regularly to determine which of them are skilled enough to be accepted. Malcolm’s best friend Thomas becomes a member of this army, and although Malcolm considers attempting it as well, circumstances take him away from his Clan. He begins his own journey of learning and is forced to make many difficult decisions. These decisions impact not only his own fate, but the fate of others he grows to love, respect and admire.

The story of “Paradigms” is a combination of spirituality, fiction and fantasy. The plot has been well thought out and the characters are believable and aptly suited in the roles that they play. Mr. McKenna has written a book that would be comparable to “The Lord of The Rings” or “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant” (for you hard-core sci-fi/fantasy fans) as the ending indicates that this is just the first book in a trilogy or series of books. I read the e-book version for the purposes of this review and will be purchasing a hard-cover copy to keep when I add the next edition.

If you have read this review previously (before May 2011) I had included a paragraph about the editing being “not very good” if you aren’t particularly picky, to “non-existent” if you are. I am very pleased to advise that the author and the publisher committed to re-editing the content and it is now not only an excellent story, it is also now very well written. I commend them for taking this action very quickly, and hope that if the editing had scared you away initially that you would now purchase the book. I am confident that you will enjoy it and will not be disappointed.

I would definitely recommend “Paradigms” for those interested in the “Spi-Fi” (Spiritual Fiction) or “Sci-Fi” (Science Fiction) genre. As a first book for a new author he has combined some of the aspects of our existing world and given us a glimpse of what our world may be like should “Things Fall Apart”.

Laughter and love,

Rick Fess (

“PARADIGMS” Author – Chris McKenna

Gypsy Shadow Publishing

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