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The Two Doctors Review

The Two Doctors Review analyzes books and board games of all shapes and sizes. We’re fair yet critical, though we believe value rests in every story told and every game designed. Feel free to reach out to us for a review!

Editorial Review: Personnel (Tyler Hanson)

So yes, I’m the editor of Personnel: Dossier Feldgrau, Tyler Hanson’s debut and the second novel released by Two Doctors Media Collaborative. Some might say I’m biased.

But I wanted to take a moment to tell everyone why I’ve chosen to invest countless hours in Tyler’s writing, working with him to craft a story ready for the world to read. Two Doctors Media Collaborative is working with Tyler because we believe in his story, and we believe in his voice.

And it’s grand.

Have you ever read the graphic novel Watchmen? Did you grow up on movies like The Matrix or X-Men, or did you watch crazy conspiracy shows on the History Channel?

When I first started reading early drafts of Personnel last Fall, I knew I’d stumbled on something special. Tyler had somehow managed to encapsulate the power of a graphic novel or a classic action film within ordinary prose. That’s hard to do. Graphic novels are often action heavy, with the vivid scenes telling most of the story. And action films like The Matrix rely on incredible CGI and choreography to tell tales like no other.

Yet, in Tyler’s words, I saw the potential for a world spanning countless books, building a narrative very unlike ordinary books you pick up off the shelf of your local book store.

So what’s Personnel: Dossier Feldgrau, and the Faction series, about?

On its surface, its about conspiracies, genetic engineering, super heroes, and awesome tech and action scenes. But at its core, the Faction is about people. It’s about real people, from a variety of intriguing backgrounds, thrust into absurd situations. It’s about how they handle their new circumstances, their new abilities, and find a way to cope with an ever-shifting and incomprehensible world.

And finally, Personnel and the Faction are about the relationships between its characters. And they are deeper and more nuanced than you can imagine.

Battery.

Aquifer.

Shadow.

Bomber.

Proxy.

Each character has a story that I love. And each character has relationships that will destroy you, make you cry, make you feel warm inside when you see their resolution. Those realities are at the heart of a compelling and terrifying global-spanning plot.

What Tyler’s attempting to do is bold. It’s ambitious. The story jumps from 2001 to 2010 to 1997 to 2005 in a blink of an eye. But it works. Astute readers will see foreshadowing, worldbuilding, and subtle clues to the greater world unveiled by the Faction. I doubt even I’ve caught the entire groundwork yet established on each page, and I’m the editor!

But I’m glad I’m by Tyler’s side. And so is Two Doctors Media Collaborative. We’re proud of the story Tyler’s told. A quick shout out is deserved to Kim Tavenor, the cover designer of Personnel and the upcoming Conscription. I can’t imagine a better cover to fit this compelling, twisting tale.

And just remember, if you’re reading this . . . they’re already watching you.

C. D. TavenorComment