Well said, well said:
Teasers #5 and #6!
(And why does “his special place” does make me think of Silent Hill 2?)
You know I just have to.
Vincent Alan Chell is coy about answering the questions of his captor. He’d much rather talk about his dead wife, Yael, whose suicide somehow led him into captivity. Or Preacher, the bearded leader of a cult-like group that meets in the bowels of a church basement. Or the Peacemaker, the computer intelligence that has guaranteed peace between nations for half a century.
Chell describes a world where cultural norms have changed the way people interact with technology. Humanoid robots, though ubiquitous, are confined inside private homes, giving the impression that all is well with the world. Which may be the case. Yet Preacher and his group are convinced that humankind is already in the thrall of the Peacemaker. And they might be right.
Solomon the Peacemaker, Hunter Welles’s debut novel, explores the limits of technology, nonviolence, love, and memory in the twenty-second century as it races to its incredible conclusion.
(I got an e-copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)
I was first attracted by the cover, which matches both my love of red/white/black colour schemes and made me wonder what about the character on it (is she connected to something, or does she have a rope around her neck?). The novel also deals with a few themes that usually interest me: how technology can affect human life, people voluntarily putting on blindfolds, and a character who, being captive, may or may have not committed some kind of crime.
It’s worth saying that Solomon the Peacemaker is particular, and is probably of the make-it-or-break-it kind. First because it unfolds in a somewhat unusual manner, in that the captor’s questions are never printed, and you have to fill in the blanks yourself, resulting in either liking it or feeling that this “breaks” your reading. After the first few pages, time for me to get used to this method, Chell’s “dialogue” parts made it easy to imagine what the questions might have been, how the interrogator may have been trying to lead him to answer specifically, and so on. However, while it worked quite well for me, it may not work for someone else. Things may also be a little confusing, since a lot of background information isn’t known, and you have to piece everything together. Due to the question/answer format, too, the narrator relies on a bit of exposition bordering on information-dumping, and this tends to force the story into more telling than showing.
But this is in the beginning, and after a short while, diving into the story became actually quite easy, as it focuses on characters, their relationships, and concepts that already exist in our time: Preacher’s cult-like church, for instance, or the hardships that can befall a marriage. Vincent tells about his life with Yael, of how their common aspirations started to differ after a while, and all the while, the Peacemaker remains looming in the background, unaware of how involved it is, how many unspoken dissensions it creates. The idea of peace being maintained across the whole world by an artificial intelligence is both fascinating and repelling, in that it raises many questions: are human beings so unable to do that by themselves that they have to resort to a machine? Is there even any hope? Also, the matter of the Host is freaky, and makes one wonder about individual sacrifice for the greater good.
I found a few things to be missing, although I suppose that including them might have cluttered the narrative. I would’ve liked to know more about the Outside, and whether is was as dangerous as the people “inside” believed it to be. I managed to make my own idea about it, but somehow, it would have been nice to get just a little more information about it. On the other hand, the whole context—the interrogation room, Chell’s knowledge that he’ll never get out of there without his brain picked apart, and his calm acceptance of this, fits the dystopian side of a world that appears perfect, yet is built on a lot of hypocrisy and damage kept hidden from public view (again, the Host comes to mind).
In the end, in spite of the couple of faults I found with it (usually, telling vs. showing is a breaker for me, but here I didn’t mind so much), Solomon the Peacemaker kept me fascinated until its conclusion. An expected conclusion, perhaps, yet one that still held quite some impact.
Although these days, I’m mostly active here with book reviews, I haven’t stopped writing. On the contrary. You may have noticed the little NaNoWriMo widget in the side bar, by the way; by now it should tell you that I’ve completed my 50k this year again—and don’t be surprised if I post more about this soon.
For now, I wish to introduce a project I’ve partaken in, in the past few months. You see, through Wattpad, I met quite a few other aspiring (or not-so-aspiring-anymore) authors, and at some point, one of them invited me to a closed group on Facebook. Sometime in the summer of 2013, an idea was raised there: “what if we published an anthology of short stories, whose benefits would all go to a charity?”
So, here we are. Fifteen authors who gathered and wrote about dreams, in many shapes and aspects. Well, after a team of editors sweept the floor behind us, and
cracked their whips gave us useful advice about how to make those stories even better, of course.
One of these authors, Maya Starling, has also been working on the graphic side, and provided us with “teaser quotes” to hand out throughout the first two weeks of the month. And I’m telling you, I find them so very appealing. I hope they’ll titillate your reading mind as much as they did mine. (I haven’t read the other authors’ stories. Not even excerpts. I intend to fully discover them on release day, just like everyone else.) Here are the first two:
Will you be with us on December 15, when we free both dreams and nightmares onto the world?Older posts »