I love the increasing accessibility of novellas via ebook these days. Two in the science-fiction genre I’ve read recently are Displaced by J F Slade and Brisk Money by Adam Christopher.
Displaced Synopsis :
What will you justify for peace?
In a not-so-distant future, genetically engineered super soldiers keep the peace by freezing criminal offenders and displacing them in time. Society forces these exceptional public servants to sacrifice their personal needs and freedoms to protect the larger population. One soldier escapes this involuntary servitude, but struggles to live an ordinary life in extraordinary times.
Displaced is a science fiction novella, exploring political and moral questions in a dystopian society.
(106 pages, Amazon)
Displaced is an engaging story told in simple, accessible prose.
The dystopian concept/societal framework Slade has begun to build in this novella is different to any I’ve come across before. That originality, Slade’s choice of a compelling first-person narrative viewpoint and the fact that much of feisty protagonist Teresa’s backstory is left unexplained had me intrigued, wanting to learn more.
Although very readable, Slade’s writing style lacked the finesse I’ve grown accustomed to — greater variety in word choice and phrasing would have taken this piece to another level.
The central question posed in this novella is answered in Displaced‘s conclusion, but many issues remain unresolved (or fully explored). There is ample scope for Slade to develop a full-length novel or even series featuring this interesting story world and character set.
BOOK RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 2.5 / 5
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Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Action-Adventure
About the Author, J F Slade
J.F. Slade is the author of the Caldaria Trilogy, including The Vision of Caldaria, The Quest for Caldaria and The Waking of Caldaria. Hailing from Seattle, she attended the University of Washington, where she initially developed her love of writing. She then embraced her love of education and earned a science teaching credential from the University of California in Irvine. She now lives in the Seattle area with her husband and son, where she is a teacher and writes part-time.
Other reviews of Displaced
Brisk Money Synopsis :
Ray Electromatic Mysteries
Raymond Chandler famously hated science fiction, saying “They pay brisk money for this crap?” However, it has recently come to light that Chandler secretly wrote a series of stories and novels starring a robot detective. He then burnt all the manuscripts and went on writing his noir masterpieces. Unknown to Chandler, his housekeeper had managed to save some of these discarded manuscripts from the grate in his study, preserving the tales for future generations.
The first of these stories was recently unearthed by author Adam Christopher. On the topic of how the manuscript made its way from Chandler’s study in California to Christopher’s home in England, Christopher is suspiciously quiet.
You will either love or hate Brisk Money‘s synopsis — luckily I’m in the former camp. It’s presumptuous, it’s cocky… for me signalling this author believes in his story and storytelling capabilities, and has a dry sense of humour.
And really, when your protagonist is a robot detective that is well aware he is the ‘one thing that is not like the others’, it would be a shame not to see the world from a glass half-full standpoint.
Here’s the thing: I’m practically built for stakeouts. I can sit or stand still for hours—so long as I get back to the office before my memory is full and time is up—and I don’t get bored or tired. I don’t need to eat or drink and if I leak it’s machine oil and a sign I need a little maintenance.
Christopher’s confident prose gives readers a feeling of being in safe hands, and happy to ride shotgun with Ray on his journey of self-discovery.
While a clever twist provides a satisfying conclusion to this very brief novella (32 pages), Brisk Money serves mainly as a readers’ introduction to Christopher’s series lead character – one I am now interested in following the exploits of.
BOOK RATING: The Story 3 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
Genre: Sci-Fi, Crime, Mystery
About the Author, Adam Christopher
Adam Christopher is a novelist and comic writer, and award-winning editor. The author of The Burning Dark, The Machine Awakes, and Made to Kill, and co-writer of The Shield for Dark Circle Comics, Adam has also written novels based on the hit CBS television show Elementary. His debut novel, Empire State, was SciFiNow’s Book of the Year and a Financial Times Book of the Year for 2012. Born in New Zealand, Adam has lived in Great Britain since 2006.