cover image Velocity Blues

Velocity Blues

Clifford Royal Johns. Vernacular, $16.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-952283-12-3

With this energetic sophomore outing, Johns (Walking Shadow) introduces readers to a near-future society divided between the speedy and the slow. Sixteen-year-old Zip is an Energy. He was among a group of children who were given experimental genetic treatments to make them smarter, stronger, faster—and who now struggle with these dubious gifts. The treatments left subjects with anxiety, depleted attention spans, and a driving compulsion to be moving at all times at a speed much faster than normal humans, or “Slugs,” can access. Zip’s existence is tenuous—he makes his money as a courier for a local hoodlum, utilizing his extreme speed and finely honed parkour skills to deliver packages. Things go horribly awry during one job when what started as a simple delivery ends with a fellow Energy being sapped of her abilities, leaving her all but dead. The incident sparks conflict between the Energy and the Slugs—with a possible cure, one which would allow the Energy to live more normal lives, on the line. Johns has a keen eye for worldbuilding and captures Zip’s thought processes in frenetic, almost stream-of-conscious prose that perfectly mirrors his mental state. Readers are in for a ripping, deceptively philosophical ride. [em](June) [/em]