Review: Everything Belongs To The Future by Laurie Penny

Review:

everything-belongs-to-the-future

For me, science fiction is at its best when it tells an allegorical story reflecting on issues of the present day, and this is what makes Laurie Penny’s Everything Belongs To The Future such a strong work.

In 2098, scientists have created a Fountain of Youth in a little blue pill. This creates a gerotocracy that only further divides the haves from the have-nots, as the pill is marketed to the rich, and priced so only the wealthy have access. A small group of idealistic youths with aspirations of political revolution attempt to undermine this disparity and create a modified version of the drug, appropriately named a Time Bomb, to undermine the quest for longevity.

A writer on social justice, feminism, and gender issues, journalist Laurie Penny brings all of these topics to bear in her science fiction debut (Penny has written several non-fiction titles, including 2014’s Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies, and Revolution). Her vision of England at the turn of the next century is highly recognizable, but subtly shaded with the repercussions of present-day issues (certain segments of England, for instance, are underwater thanks to many of our Old White Man politicians ignoring climate change and its now-unstoppable effects on future generations). There’s plenty of justifiable anger simmering in this book’s plot, as well, and while the character’s motives are nicely gray their final solution is anything but.

Everything Belongs To The Future is richly political and frighteningly dark, but there’s also a certain honesty to it’s ‘what if’ nature that I appreciate. It’s better to have a bitter truth than a comforting lie, in my opinion, and this title certainly hits on several unsavory truths about mankind, ambition, and greed.

[I received an advanced copy of this title for review from the publisher via NetGalley.]

 

Buy Everything Belongs To The Future At Amazon

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Review: Everything Belongs To The Future by Laurie Penny

Review: HIT by Delilah S. Dawson (Audiobook)

Review:

hit

[My original HIT audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.]

Rather than start with a dystopia already in progress, Delilah S. Dawson starts right at the beginning on Day One of the apocalypse. Valor Savings has secretly just bought up all of America’s debt and now controls the nation. Congress has cashed out on their biggest-ever payday and the police have the day off while Valor hit-men go after debtors failing to properly contribute to society. Have a student loan, or a home mortgage? Still owe some money of your car? Then your name is on a list, all because you couldn’t be bothered to read the fine print. Now you have three options – pay your debt in full immediately, work for Valor Savings as a bounty hunter for five days, or die.

Seventeen-year-old Patsy is a Valor hit-man, coerced into taking the deal after her mother’s debt comes to light. Her mother has a number of outstanding bills and, already poor to begin with, cannot afford the medical care required to treat her cancer (as Patsy wryly notes, it costs more money to seek medical treatment than to become a doctor). Patsy is given the incentive to work as a hired gun in order to get her mom treatment courtesy of Valor, or else they both die. It’s not much of a deal, really, and there are no other options. She’s given a gun, a postal truck and a mail worker’s shirt to stay innocuous, and a list of ten names to deal with over the next five days.

Thankfully, Dawson takes the run-and-gun premise and imbues it with a nice bit of snark and charm, as well as a burgeoning romance between Patsy and Wyatt, whose father and brother both are on the Valor hit list. They make for an interesting couple, the very nature of their relationship underscored by a healthy amount of already built-in conflict, and while I at first felt their relationship somewhat strained credibility Dawson eventually won me over and I found myself rooting for them to succeed.

While Hit is labeled a Young Adult book, it’s certainly on the more mature end of the spectrum and the narrative is suitably dark with its violent plot and the beginning of the end for American society. Hit is also the first book in a series, and thus the narrative here provides a lot more questions than it can comfortably answer. Not everything is resolved neatly, and the ending perfectly sets up the sequel, Strike, due out April 2016.

On the narration side of things, Rebekkah Ross absolutely nails it. She has a lovely voice that carried the not-quite 8-hour listening time brilliantly, and I never doubted her as Patsy for a moment. There are a few times where an audiobook narrator instantly becomes the voice of a work or a series, and Ross is it for this work. Hit is a first-person POV narration, and right from the start Ross is Patsy. She slips into this role comfortably and pulls off the emotional range effortlessly, capturing Patsy’s angst, anger, and humor ridiculously well. The production is crisp and clean, with nary a hiccup to be found. All around, this is a very accomplished and professional effort and a wonderful audiobook.

After recently listening to Dawson describe Hit on the Three Guys With Beards podcast (hosted by authors Jonathan Maberry, Christopher Golden, and James A. Moore), I knew I had to check it out. And it was every bit as good as I had hoped it would be, even if I would have appreciated more in the way of resolution. But, hey, that’s what sequels are for, and if Strike is even half as good as Hit, I’ll be a very happy reader/listener.

[Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com]

 

Buy HIT At Amazon

Original post:
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Review: HIT by Delilah S. Dawson (Audiobook)

Cover Reveal: No Way Home

For the past few months, I’ve been working with Lucas Bale and a team of other terrific up-and-coming sci-fi indie authors to produce an anthology. We are expecting it to hit shelves this March, so not too long of a wait, but still miles to go. At long last, though, I can finally share some official bits and pieces, and you get your first look at our final cover.

The art was designed by Jason Gurley, and it is full-on, non-stop bad ass.

Here’s a look, with the blurb below:

No Way Home Kindle

No Way Home.

Stories From Which There is No Escape.

Nothing terrifies us more than being stranded. Helpless, forsaken, cut-off. Locked in a place from which there is no escape, no way to get home.

A soldier trapped in an endless war, dies over and over, only to be awakened each time to fight again – one of the last remaining few seeking to save mankind from extinction.

In rural 70’s England, an RAF radio engineer returns to an abandoned military installation, but begins to suffer hallucinations, shifts in time and memories that are not his own.

A widower, one of ten thousand civilian space explorers, is sent alone to determine his assigned planet’s suitability for human colonisation, but stumbles across a woman who is part of the same program and shouldn’t be there at all.

A depressed woman in a poverty-stricken near-future America, where political apathy has allowed special interests to gain control of the country, takes part in a particularly unpleasant crowd-funding platform, established by the nation’s moneyed elite to engage the masses.

An assassin from the future, sent back in time to murder a woman, is left stranded when he fails in his mission and knows he will soon cease to exist.

These sometimes dark, sometimes heart-warming, but always insightful stories and more are to be found in No Way Home, where eight of the most exciting new voices in speculative fiction explore the mental, physical and even meta-physical boundaries that imprison us when we are lost.

Release date: March 2, 2015

This book will be 99 cents for the first 48 hours of its release, so be sure to mark your calendars and snag it immediately! You might also want to add it to your To Read list on Goodreads.

A few days ago, I hinted that we had one hell of an author contributing a foreword, and now the cat is officially out of the bag. Jennifer Foehner Wells, the awesome author of the ginormous science fiction best-seller Fluency, is helping us kick things off!

This project has been an enormous amount of fun, and I’m really damn excited to bring this one to readers. I think there is a heck of a lot to love in this collection, and I’ve had the pleasure of reading a few of these stories in advance. I’m ridiculously proud to have my short story, REVOLVER, appearing in print alongside the work of a whole bunch of wonderful authors, some of whom are making their big sci-fi debut right here in these pages.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the works of Bale, Wells, J.S. Collyer, S. Elliot Brandis, Harry Manners, S.W. Fairbrother, Nadine Matheson, and Alex Roddie, who’s making his sci-fi debut here under the pen-name A.S. Sinclair.

There will be more news on the release soon, but you might want to sign up for my newsletter, memFeed, for extra goodies as we get closer to our release date. Trust me, it will be well worth it.

And, if I can ask one last thing of you, please share this post far and wide and be sure to tell your friends and neighbors.

Cover Reveal: No Way Home

Guest Post: S. Elliot Brandis, “It’s Not The End Of The World”

S. Elliot Brandis is a writer I came into contact with thanks to KBoards. I was immediately taken by his description for his debut novel, Irradiated (part one of The Tunnel Trilogy), and have been patiently waiting for the release of its follow-up, Degenerated. The good news is that the latter is now available, and both can be had for the uber-cheap introductory price of only 99c for a limited time. Two books for less than two bucks. Go buy them immediately!

If you’re wondering whether Irradiated may be up your alley or not, check out my review. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I think it’s a pretty safe purchase. The story is solid, and Elliot has a damn strong writing voice and a style I really dig. To top it off, those Jason Gurley covers are beauties. All in all, it’s a top-notch package.

01_Brandis_IRRADIATED_EbookEdition02_Brandis_DEGENERATED_EbookEdition

buy irradiated at amazon
buy degenerated at amazon

I’m really happy to have Elliot posting here today, so let’s get on with it. Here’s his article, “It’s Not The End Of The World.” Enjoy!


 

It’s Not The End Of The World

Think of post-apocalyptic fiction, and what do you see? Zombies, bombs, disease, disaster, war? Maybe you see barren landscapes, or bones jutting from emaciated bodies. Whatever it is, I bet it’s unpleasant.

It would be easy to think, then, that post-apocalyptic fiction is about one thing: fear. Indeed, fear is deeply ingrained in the genre. Our stories tap into our fear of the future, of human nature, of what happens when it all goes wrong. However, fear is only half of the equation.

If you distil the genre down into core elements, what you’ll find are two competing emotions: fear and hope. They are the heart of the genre, it’s defining feature. The balance between the two changes, but the conflict between them is always there.

Consider The Walking Dead, in all of its guises. It taps into many of our fears. Our fear of dying, and of losing loved ones. Our fear of fellow man, and the darkness that may lay hidden deep in their hearts, waiting for a chance to surface. It also raises questions about ourselves. If you were pushed to the edge, would you still act in a way that’s moral? Or would you compromise your morals to save yourself and your family? What is more is more important? But, on the other hand, it’s also a show about hope. The hope that if we tough it out and try to work together—maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe we can make a new start, forge new relationships, and persevere. The hope pushes us forward, through all the darkness.

Even the darkest works have this glimmer of hope. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is often described as bleak, perhaps even ‘hopeless’. But I disagree—there is hope. The man and his son are “carrying the fire”. He instils this idea in his son—they are amongst the last flickers of humanity, it’s final chance. Without this sliver of hope, as slim as it is, I doubt that the book would work. It is a trickle of oxygen in an otherwise suffocating world. And, as bad as that novel may make us feel, it also makes us think that perhaps, just perhaps, there is merit in our sheer doggedness.

So, we arrive to the title. Despite the name, post-apocalyptic fiction is not about the end of the world. It’s about our fight to prevent the end of the world. The conflict between hope and fear—the fundamentals of human existence—lay at its core. It’s about our will to survive.

And that’s what makes it so damn good.

Writing Shot

 

S. Elliot Brandis is the author of Irradiated, the first novel in a trilogy. He lives in Brisbane, Australia, and often sets his stories there, too. He loves hearing from readers, and can be found at many locations across the internet.

Website: http://selliotbrandis.com/

Guest Post: S. Elliot Brandis, “It’s Not The End Of The World”