Vulcan’s Forge

Robert Mitchell Evans. Flame Tree, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-78758-399-3
Evans’s ambitious but unfocused debut novel (after his collection Horseshoes & Hand Grenades: Tales of Terror and Technology) is a sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian, puritanical society built by the only known survivors on a postapocalyptic Earth. Jason Kessler is a quietly frustrated citizen of Nocturnia who works as a screener for salvaged 20th-century American movies to ensure their morals are fit for public viewing. He becomes obsessed with Pamela Guest, a theatergoer with ties to the criminal underworld, and the pair begin an illicit affair, but the longer they continue, the more Jason feels trapped by Nocturnia’s restrictions and his and Pamela’s lies. Their only way out seems to be the mysterious Forge, an artificial intelligence with deep reach through all areas of Nocturnia society. Jason is positioned as an underdog simmering with rebellious impulses, but readers’ goodwill toward him is undermined as his increasing desperation to break free of Nocturnia leads him to make rash and illogical choices. Similarly, the promising beginning introduces many intriguing ideas, but the novel’s frenetic pacing wings from one concept to the next, taking away from the power of each. This adventure is too jam-packed for its own good. (Mar)
Reviewed on : 01/10/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-78758-397-9
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