5 starsNever Deny What You Truly Feel Inside..., July 15, 2010

by Apex Reviews (Durham, NC USA)

Dr. Alex Dael is a brilliant physicist whose research on teleportation has the potential to change the world as we know it. Not only that, but with a great job, nice home, and trusted, reliable friends, it appears as though he has it all; however, despite all his material success, Alex longs for the fulfillment that can only come with that special someone to share his life with - and when he meets the beautiful Janine, it appears as though he will finally begin to reap the benefits of true love. Alex soon discovers, though, that his supreme confidence is limited to the realm of the laboratory, and as he struggles to summon the courage to express his true feelings to Janine, he runs the risk of losing the very thing for which he's waited so long...

Coming in at just over 60 pages, Burnished Bridge is a short but powerful novella highlighting the tumultuous inner turmoil fostered by feelings and emotion. In skillful fashion, author Ray Melnik expounds on the challenges that confront us as we search for true love, as well as the often unintended consequences that we experience when we actually find it. Though a brilliant, accomplished physicist, Alex is no different than any of us when it comes to matters of the heart, and his actions vis-à-vis his burgeoning feelings for Janine are quite understandable in light of the common threads of human emotion that unite us all.

A well-crafted tale with a surprisingly imaginative conclusion, Burnished Bridge is an enjoyable, heartwarming read. Recommended for all the lovesick souls still on a constant quest for true love.

Renee Washburn
Apex Reviews

5 starsA very satisfying read, July 2, 2010

by Feathered Quill Book Reviews (Goshen, MA)

Dr. Alex Dael is a brilliant physicist who, from the outside, appears to have everything a man could want. He has a great job, a nice home, and good friends who care about him. But Alex knows that there is more to life - he wants somebody to share his life with; somebody to love.

Alex works at SciLab, a facility that specializes in cutting edge science. Like his colleagues, Alex's research could profoundly affect the lives of millions of people. The forty-four-year-old scientist is leading `Project Glint;' a project that could one day lead to teleportation. The research promises such amazing results that even the Department of Defense is interested. Dr. Elina Maina, another talented scientist, is Alex's co-worker, a young woman who is happily married with two adorable children. Elina cares deeply for Alex and would love it if he found somebody special but Alex isn't sure there is anybody "out there" for him.

One day while having lunch at the local tavern, Alex and Elina overhear a conversation between an attractive young woman and her boyfriend. It is quickly apparent that the boyfriend is possessive, overbearing, and possibly abusive. Alex quickly steps in and asks the man to calm down. In reply, the obnoxious boyfriend tells Alex to "mind your own business." (pg. 15) When the tavern's owner asks the man to leave, the woman stays behind and thanks Alex for his help. She introduces herself as Janine and the two are soon sharing daily lunches at the tavern.

Alex falls hard for Janine and is tormented at the thought of her being abused by her boyfriend Cale. Yet, Alex is convinced that a woman as young and attractive as Janine (she's in her late twenties) could never fall for an older man like him. Even with Elina and Brice, the tavern owner, trying to get him to ask Janine out, Alex refuses to even try. Instead, Alex makes a life-altering decision, something so frightening, yet, to a scientist, so cool, that the reader is torn on whether to cheer him on or scold him for running away.

Burnished Bridge may be a short novella (61 pages), but a lot happens within those few pages. The story picks up immediately, with an overview of Alex's life and his research project. It doesn't take long to get drawn into the story and the possible outcomes of both Alex's research and love life. While research progressed at an unrealistically fast pace, the science was not hard to follow and offered a fascinating look at what many hope will be a future means of transportation. It is important to note that, for most of the book, the science is merely the background for a love story; it is not the primary focus of this novella. However, without giving away the ending, Alex's research does plays a profound part in resolving his dilemma.

Told in the first person by Alex, the reader is able to share his excitement over research advances, and clearly see his inner turmoil as he struggles with his feelings over Janine. Of course, even with sharing Alex's thoughts, the reader will likely scream at him to ask Janine out on a date. And while the reader may be upset with Alex and the decision he eventually makes, the creative ending to the story will likely have the reader cheering.

Quill says: Burnished Bridge is a very satisfying read that examines the importance of finding true love.

5 starsA romantic interim with a scientific twist!, June 30, 2010

by Sassy Brit "alternative-read" (UK)

Alex Dael is a scientist and has been working on Project Glint for several years, which has been classified as a matter of National Security and a cause for concern by the Ministry of Defence. Together with the funding secured by Dr Greene, and his lab assistant Dr. Elina's help, Alex has discovered a way to send Beatrice, an orangutan, through space and time. Only thing is, it appears to have worked from their side of the Project, but they have no idea whether Beatrice has arrived safely after her atoms have been flying through the cosmos. And that's when Alex hits on the idea of sending himself to follow her. But would Dr. Elina agree with such a dangerous idea?

Meanwhile, Alex is at the pinnacle of his career at SciLab and has met a lovely girl, Janine, twelve years his junior who he would do anything to be with, but she is taken. Sadly he wonders what the point of being on the verge of success at his age is when he has no one to share his good fortune. To add to his misery, while Alex is hitting ideas, Janine's husband is hitting her. If only they could get together she could flee her abusive relationship, but what can he do or say to convince her to leave the brute? He decides not to take a chance with her takes, but a large leap of faith into the unknown, leaving his whole world as he knows far, far away with mind-boggling consequences.

The scientific slant of Burnished Bridge was interesting, with the smooth weaving of romance, time travel and fictional science into a fine tapestry. The point of view does flit around from first person to third, the latter of which is in italics, and for some this may not be ideal, but I've read Melnik's previous two books and have come to enjoy his writing style. Plus, his take on the world his mostly scientific characters live in seem a million light-years away from mine. I especially like the way cameo appearances are made by characters from his previous books, and hope to soon see everyone together for the final countdown before blastoff. All in all, Melnik delivers a light, gentle read. Like a space capsule floating lightly to Earth under a billowing parachute.

5 starsAnother Amazing Story, June 29, 2010

by S. pepe (Lindenhurst, NY United States)

Ray Melnik has done a fantastic job of seamlessly blending science fiction and romance in an entertaining and moving short story. Mr. Melnik effortlessly weaves in characters from his past stories into the storyline and develops the characters in such a way that you feel completely connected with them. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and anxiously look forward to his next.

5 starsA Story That Is Really More Than Meets The Eye, June 8, 2010

by Norm Goldman "Editor of Bookpleasures.com" (Montreal)

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.

5 starsRealistic and Romantic Science Fiction at Its Finest, May 25, 2010

by Tyler R. Tichelaar "Superior Book Promotions..." (Marquette, MI USA)

"Burnished Bridge" is a short novella, but it is big on ideas. In fact, anyone who has read Ray Melnik's previous novels "The Room" and "To Your Own Self Be True" knows Melnik takes ground-breaking scientific theories and creates impressive, often mind-blowing plots, but not sheerly for the technological magic or special effects, but to explore and develop his characters. Melnik is first and foremost a romantic and a student of the human character, and secondly, a writer of science fiction. His use of science is always integral to the plot and the characters, enhancing and illuminating the situations. If "Sci-Fi Romance" is not already considered a legitimate literary genre, Melnik is well on his way to creating it.

Readers of Melnik's previous novels will find some cameo appearances of recognizable characters in "Burnished Bridge" but the novella really stands on its own. At its center is Alex Dael, a scientist employed at SciLab, who for seven years has been working on the Glint Project, a new technology that will allow articles to be teleported to other locations. This amazing technology opens up impressive possibilities when a wormhole is discovered in space, through which is found another planet believed to be able to sustain life. Alex and his partner, Elina, instantly have the idea that they will use Glint to teleport objects to the newly discovered planet, including their orangutan, Beatrice. The journey to the distant planet, by using Glint, will only take about 140 minutes as opposed to 40,000 years with a spaceship.

If you're not into science, don't worry. Melnik takes it easy on the technical details so the plot is easy to follow, and as I said earlier, the novella is primarily a love story. Alex has recently met a young woman named Janine at a local deli, and since they both go there for lunch each day, they develop a relationship. The problem is that she is much younger than Alex, and she has a boyfriend already. Worse, Alex witnesses her boyfriend mistreat her, but she insists on remaining with him, leaving Alex in a situation he finds unbearable since he cannot be with her.

Torn inside by the love he cannot have, Alex makes a decision that is both nearly unbelievable because of its uncertainty, and yet completely gripping. As occurs in Melnik's previous novels, science, or rather the mysteries of the universe, intervene to bring about unexpected yet satisfying results in a way I doubt any reader can predict.

At the heart of "Burnished Bridge" is the belief that the universe itself continues to evolve and create itself, and that life, and humans, not only evolve but help in that creation. As the back cover states, "Alex believes that because of us, the cosmos comes to know itself. This time it returns the favor."

Melnik's books are not big on religious beliefs, but neither are they cold as scientific fact is often interpreted. Instead, the use of scientific theories only adds to the magic, the miracle, and the wonder of everything. The incredible size, power, and unknowable aspects of the universe are beyond the capacity of the human mind to understand, and yet, the universe appears friendly, at least to those who hold love within them. In the novella's prologue, Melnik quotes Carl Sagan, who sums this situation up by saying, "For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love." I do not know enough about science to determine whether Melnik is correct about how the universe functions, but the universe he envisions is one I hope is real.

If readers will have any disappointment in this book, it is only that it is so short, but Melnik is currently working on his fourth novel, one in which he promises to tie together these first three works. I know his fans will eagerly anticipate it.

-- Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and author of the award-winning "Narrow Lives"

5 starsSo engrossed I missed my train stop!, May 14, 2010

by Danielle Shaw "Writer and book lover" (London)

What a great read! It made me feel like everything in life will be ok, regardless. I was so engrossed and desperate to keep reading that I completely missed my train stop. Highly recommend it!

5 starsWell worth buying., April 23, 2010

by Lily Serene "Lily" (Seattle, WA)

If you like science fiction but find some of it too dense, you ought to read this one. I would call it science fiction with romantic leanings. Not a swashbuckler, not a science manifesto, but a sweet story that kept me wanting to see what would happen. It reminded me of all the places I'd like to visit, but that might be a bit too other-worldly. The only issue I have is that it's a novella and I wished it were a complete novel. I wanted to know more about everything. I think I'll have to read the author's novel "To Your Own Self Be True" to get some more!

5 starsTrust in the Cosmos!, April 15, 2010

by Gail Engles (South Brunswick, NJ)

I just finished reading Ray Melnik's "Burnished Bridge" and thoroughly enjoyed it! I easily embraced his characters and couldn't wait to learn the outcome of the "Glint" project which had an unexpected turn of events. I also liked seeing some familiar characters from Mr. Melnik's two previous novels...an easy read and another great book from Ray Melnik!

5 starsLoved It! Another hit for Melnik!, April 13, 2010

by J. Jedras (Chicago, IL)

Just got finished reading Burnished Bridge and was not disappointed. It was a quick read and held my attention to the very end. Loved the characters and hope we hear more from them. You did it again Mr. Melnik!!!!!

5 starsDidn't see it coming, April 1, 2010

by Jason Morgan

Ray Melnik has written an insightful and thought-provoking novella with "Burnished Bridge". The work is even throughout and I was happy to follow the doctor through his exploration of his beliefs in his work, personal attachments and his desire to be true to himself at whatever cost. I was not expecting the ending and was captivated by the unexpected twist. I read it in one sitting - I would suggest you do the same.

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