Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.
(? - ) US bookseller and author whose first novel, The Twenty-Year Death (2012) is a nonfantastic thriller told in three parts, each part in the voice of a famous crime writer (the first being Georges Simenon). A children's book, One of a Kind (2012 chap) is for younger children. He is of sf interest for his second adult novel, Barren Cove (2016), set in an Entropy-ridden seemingly balkanized Near Future America, seemingly close to the end-days of Homo sapiens, seemingly replaced by Robots constructed more or less in their image. Though one of them is named after Isaac Asimov – other sf writers are also name-checked – the robot narrator, and the robot "family" whose story he accesses through an obedient house AI, lack any controls on their behaviour (see Laws of Robotics), and express their existential despair at their post-human meaningless lives through acts of violence (including the murder of a human child). The archaic Technologies on display – robots reboot by inputting data via USB connections into their hard disks, etc – may expose some Mainstream Writer of SF indifference to problems of sf narrative embedding, but also intensify the sad surreality of the dysfunctional dying world the tale is set in. His second sf novel, The Preserve (2020), occupies a similarly grey-affect world, though surviving post-Pandemic humans are here allowed to exist in the eponymous enclave, where a murder has occurred. The murdered man may have invented a code capable of derailing the Robots who own the planet. [JC]
Ariel S Winter
- Barren Cove (New York: Atria Books/Emily Bestler Books, 2016) [hb/Chelsea McGuckin]
- The Preserve (New York: Atria Books/Emily Bestler Books, 2020) [pb/]
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