The year is 2483. The economy is the worst it has ever been and the country is run by a Hitler-like President, Ernie Wolf. Retired Staff Sergeant Mathieu ‘Matt’ Adams is a retired sniper at the age of only 34. Matt jumps at the chance to take an undercover position in Akron, Ohio, of all places, as he is like most Americans at this time, just scraping by and will take any work he can get. His mission is to infiltrate a supposed rebel group called the Workers Social Club. President Wolf has made himself president for life and rids the government of Congress. He only allows one political party to exist, the Veteran’s Party, so all other groups must be squashed in whatever way necessary.
But after Matt is found out to be an undercover agent by the members of the Workers Social Club (an homage to rebellious groups of people during any tumultuous era in history), they offer him another position to consider, slaying the Wolf himself to try and save not only the country but a space ship currently under construction orbiting the moon that will take a group of humans to another planet to hopefully save the human race, something Wolf wants to destroy.
I absolutely loved this dytopian political thriller. Science fiction is my genre of choice because it is able to portray stark ideas in wild settings. Wolf Slayer is able to capture the magic of science fiction with though-provoking themes and authentic characters in a far off time. Even though this book is set almost 500 years in the future, there are a lot of similarities to today’s world and country. If you enjoy Jason Bourne and Shooter mixed in with a bit of science fiction, then you will love this book too.
Matt Adams is a character you can relate to and find yourself rooting for. What I loved most was the slow evolution of his character throughout the story as what he ‘knows’ is turned on its head. While President Ernie Wolf is your classic villain who is easy to dislike and even hate. There is never any confusion as to who you want to win and lose.
Wylie has definitely made a political statement with his book as there are so many similarities between this story and our current political situation. But he has managed to do it in a ‘Christmas Carol’-like warning. We must learn the hidden lessons from his story or be doomed to live in the world Matt Adams must save. Wolf Slayer is a sci-fi thriller for a modern audience.
Pages: 332 | ASIN: B07XPBFHRV
Tags: author, Blair Wylie, book, book review, bookblogger, dystopia, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, political thriller, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, suspense, thriller, Wolf Slayer, writer, writing
Judenrein follows a man with a checkered past who must stop a world changing conspiracy. What was the inspiration for setup to this dystopian thriller?
I got the idea for this book when I started to see white supremacists become more vocal and visible in American politics, and face remarkably little official pushback – at least from the current president. These groups make no secret of their goal of driving the Jews (and a lot of other non-white groups) either out of the country, into slavery or death. I became intrigued with the possibility of a secret white supremacist group seizing power behind the scenes. This would be the ultimate “suits not boots” strategy for them, as they might call it.
Zack is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some ideas that guided his character development?
I have been involved in helping recovering drug addicts throughout the last 20 years. It’s not my job, but the work has come into my life. Through this experience, I’ve seen the potential for greatness that often hides inside the addict, waiting to come out. I have also felt that a great injustice has been visited on a generation of young Americans who were recruited to serve the US, but lost to forever wars and forgotten when they returned to civilian life. I wanted to bring this experience to life in the character. As an observant Jew, I’ve also seen a lot of young people get kicked out of orthodox life for various infractions and attitude problems. I wanted the character to represent the ambivalence I see in many of these young people. They believe in God and Torah. They love being Jewish. They just can’t fit into the orthodox world. That’s Zack.
The idea of white supremacists taking over the country and setting up 21st century ghettos was striking. What were some themes you felt were important to focus on in this book?
I wanted to focus on the slippery slope to neo Nazism in the US, and the shocking thing has been to see so many predictions made int eh book come true even in the last few months – with armed men, carrying swastika flags, threatening elected officials with death in protest of COVID lockdowns – only to be called “good people” by the president. This is much closer to us than we realize.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a non-fiction book about cybersecurity, which I have written under a different name. I am also going to publish an earlier book, that never came out, that deals with some similar themes of inequality and injustice in the US, but told in the form of a thriller.
As a white supremacist movement stealthily takes the reins of power in America, it is again the Jews who are made out as scapegoats. Stripped of wealth and citizenship, they are made to live in 21st century ghettos that hark back to a sinister and murky past that many had thought would never return.
But things are about to get much worse. With the revealing of a planned terror attack that will place the blame firmly at Jewish feet and condemn millions to death, Zack is contacted by Jewish leaders in Detroit, begging for his help.
Reluctantly he agrees and before long he is mired in a conspiracy that will have far reaching consequences for his country, the Jewish population and even his own sanity.
As the clock ticks down, can Zack find a way to avert a looming disaster? Who is behind the conspiracy? And can he really trust anyone?
Posted in Interviews
Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, dystopia, dystopian, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Harold Benjamin, jew, jewish, jewish literature, Judenrein, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Carnival Panic is a dystopian game show where contestants must solve dangerous room puzzles to claim a life changing prize. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting novel?
The initial inspiration for this novel occurred when I walked through the Kyari Pamyu Pamyu museum in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo. While there, I saw a display called “Candy Forest!” with unsettling pink rabbit statues, seen here https://matcha-jp.com/en/688. As I exited, I thought that what I had seen would make a great horror story. I pulled out my notebook and began sketching and writing ideas. I wrote about 10,000 words and then got stuck and put the story away for a few years.
It wasn’t until I went on an outing to Sanrio Puroland that I was able to continue writing the story. I often describe that day as one of the most uncomfortably horrible experiences I have ever had at a theme park. I had agreed to go to Puroland with a couple of friends, not knowing exactly what it was. After entering through the theme park gates, I realized that I was completely outside of my comfort zone.
On top of the immense claustrophobia were the inescapable sensory explosions. The air was pumped with all manner of sweet smells, there was constant music from individual speakers to the parades, it was hot due to the high summer temperatures, and there were lights everywhere both strobing and stationary. And when we stopped for lunch, all the food was of the sweetest kind; candied and dessert versions of its real counterparts. In contrast to my unpleasant experience, my friends were ecstatic and enjoyed every moment of that theme park, playing on the toys, going on the rides, and shopping with childlike enthusiasm.
On the train home, I knew exactly what I could write about and that became Carnival Panic.
What was the process like for imagining and writing the different rooms and puzzles you have in the book?
For the most part, the inspiration for the rooms came from various areas of Sanrio Puroland that I visited but with more sinister aspects. I also love to watch anime and at the time I was binging Deadman Wonderland so some of the themes from that anime made their way into the novel.
Your characters were all well developed and interesting. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Fletch. I enjoyed writing from her point of view because she is an unapologetic anarchist.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I have two finished novels at the moment which I am querying for publication. A science fiction alien invasion novel called Darkness in a Sky of Embers and a narrative fiction novel called Elephants Have No Sleeves.
As for currents projects, I am working on a supernatural murder mystery that follows the main character, Tzipora, who comes back from the dead to find her murderer.
Candy makes the PonPon Bunnies sweet. Be careful if they’re angry. And watch out for traps! These are the dangers of competing in the Carnival Panic game show, a ruthless competition that tests the chosen competitors with mental and physical struggles. In order to claim the substantial monetary prize, the winner must solve a series of room puzzles and succeed in entertaining the fickle masses.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, Carnival Panic, Catori Sarmiento, dystopia, dystopian, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
In Sorin Banu’s epic dystopian science fiction novel, man creates a group of human-like cyborgs called Tentorians to end a new world war in the 22nd century. From that point onwards, the Tentorians grow and morph into power-hungry killing machines. They pose a threat to all around them and end up being forcefully ejected from their first settlement by an alliance of nations of the earth. These Tentorians then proceed to create a sovereign state called Tentoria. Here, a new leader envisions a future marked by peaceful coexistence between Tentorians and the rest of mankind. But some powerful Tentorians would have none of that. These rebels set their sights on forcefully taking over the otherworldly Island as their new home. In a series of revealing and riveting events, Cole, a 27-year old Islander, a surprising ally and the Island’s authorities try to protect this unique piece of land. But how will this end? Will the soulless cyborgs seize the last place on earth where people could truly live as humans?
Sorin Banu pings us between the 21st and the 25th centuries as he tells a story of a fallen world. He artfully illustrates what the earth might look like in the 25th century based on man’s hunger to continually tinker with technology. Banu’s fictional future is marked by stunning advancements in the development of artificial intelligence. But he doesn’t just create futuristic innovations many already envision; he shows us where such breakthroughs could lead humanity.
In this book, Banu suggests that man’s technological creations could come back to haunt him. According to Banu we could end up creating real-life terminators that would later turn on us. But the problem could even run deeper. We could lose our essence as humans.
To drive home his point, he uses an intriguing story line to highlight the things that make us human and how technology could take them away from us. And this wouldn’t be because we created cyborgs to fight our wars. It would be because we’d become overly attached to technology. As we seek greater control and improved solutions, nature’s imprints on our lives will slowly fade away.
The book’s central theme was just one of the many things that thrilled me. Amongst those other things was how Banu weaved the story. I could easily follow the plot even though the author was going back and forth in time. He was also smart enough to insert gaps that kept me guessing and coming up with plausible theories. Also, the characters were relatable, and I could share their emotions.
The book engages your mind, challenges you to reassess some values and appreciate both the limitations and privileges of being human.
Pages: 352 | ASIN: B07QF59Y92
Tags: action, author, book, book review, bookblogger, cyborg, dystopia, ebook, fantasy, fiction, future, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, military, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, Sorin Banu, story, Tentoria, terminator, war, writer, writing
Liberty Bound by Nathaniel M. Wrey is a novel set thousands of years in the future from our present day, where a small city, Athenia, remains as the last known beacon of civilization. Finbarl is the main character, and he works to protect the city from the threat of Ferrals, a supposed sub-human race of creatures that seek to destroy the city, if they could ever breach the walls. Inside the city, Finbarl and the other soldiers addictively rely on the Jumblar plant to keep them sharp and ready for the threat.
The novel certainly brims with creativity, which stands in contrast with the rigid system that the characters live with in their lonesome city. There are many varied issues with class and social standing, and Liberty Bound seeks to create meaningful commentary regarding them. The author has developed a fascinating arrangement of a post apocalyptic civilization and tries to use these societal systems to bring about a provocative purpose for their existence in terms of the story told.
However, the story excels within Finbarl’s decisions and the consequences of those choices. He eventually finds himself at odds with the society he has worked so hard to become a part of, and he must decide what he is going to do once he is no longer able to remain within the social structure provided by the city. Will Finbarl find a way to re-enter the good standing in his society, or will he strive to make bigger changes to the city and the people within it? The question was clear throughout the story and I enjoyed watching Finbarl’s evolution as the novel progressed. I could empathize with his character and that connection made the novel thrilling.
All the while, the threat of the Ferral remains, putting pressure on every character, making every decision carry much more weight. The story thrives on this tension, and it makes the pages very easy to turn.
Pages: 227 | ASIN: B087YXKKT3
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, dystopia, ebook, fantasy, ficiton, goodreads, kindle, kobo, Liberty Bound, literature, Nathaniel M. Wrey, nook, novel, post apocalyptic, read, reader, reading, science fiction, scifi, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Catalina Saylor is allowed to work in Qubit’s Incubator on probation for thirty days. If she proves her idea within that time, she will be allowed to stay and try to obtain a patent on her device.
Qubit’s Incubator is a work place for bright people with good ideas who have no resources to develop their ideas.
If they are accepted, they will be provided with a workspace, equipment, and other benefits for thirty days. If they are not successful within that time, they will leave with nothing.
It’s 2020, many years after the Civil Rights Movement and racism is still an issue. In fact, people seem to be radicalizing: white nationalists and Neo-Nazi movements are springing up everywhere. Imagine what would happen if a White Nationalist group infiltrated the highest office in the country, the white house. It would go from building a wall at the Mexican border to coming up with creative ways of rounding up non-white Americans. With human rights protected by the constitution and the UN, it seems improbable that one race would annihilate the others. But we should not underestimate the drive of a “higher cause.”
Judenrein, by Harold Benjamin, is a story about an elaborate plan for a fourth Reich called Reichsadler; only this time, it is not happening in Nazi Germany but the US. The conservative president has affiliations with a powerful and wealthy white nationalist group. The rounding up of Jews is already done. Now, the protagonist, a homeless American-Jew war veteran, has to stop this group before it finds a way to end all other races.
Harold Benjamin presents the story in simple, straightforward language. The way he describes the action-packed scenes helps create vivid imagery in your mind. To make it all so authentic, he throws in Jewish terminologies such as Yeshiva and Yarmulke. The direct speech by the members of the white nationalist group is as backward, gross, and infuriating as you would expect from a racist skinhead.
Perhaps the best thing about this book is the unconventional protagonist: A recovering junkie who got hooked after getting injured in service of his country. His country has now labeled him a terrorist due to his origins. From the very beginning, he is set up to fail. With so many obstacles and too few people to trust, his success seems far-fetched.
The story development is excellent. The first few chapters seem to talk about random people and scenes. But soon, the pieces start falling into place, and I couldn’t help but admire the creativity that went into making that possible.
Judenrein is a page-turner, full of action scenes and unexpected twists of events. Combine all that with simple language and short chapters, and you get a book you won’t put down until you reach the back cover. It is probably the most inspiring action-thriller I have read this year. It is an entertaining book with a thought-provoking message about racism, and shows how easy it would be to find ourselves back in a world where the color of your skin is a crime.
Pages: 260 | ASIN: B086BRZDPF
To what lengths are you willing to go for life-changing money? Imagine a post-apocalyptic world. The kind of world we see in films where an asteroid or a catastrophic climatic event has changed everything we love about our current world. Governments are just recovering; there’s no education, very few factories and businesses, no agriculture; in short, essential luxuries are only readily available to the rich. In such a world, earning a dime would be a struggle. Yet, you would still need to make a living. So, again, to what lengths do you think you would be willing to go to earn life-changing money?
Carnival Panic by Catori Sarmiento is a suspenseful science fiction story about a game where the winner walks away with ten million. The game, Carnival Panic, however, is no ordinary game. It is like an escape room – players enter an arena and have to solve some puzzle to proceed to the next. But the puzzles are not easy, and the wrong solution often results in injury or even the maiming of an arm or a leg. There are six contestants, and only one wins; there’s not even a consolation prize for second place. The story is set in a dystopian future world. In this grim world, access to basic human needs such as food, water, and healthcare is not easy. Most people are living in turmoil. The few luckier ones live in self-sustaining habitats while the one percent shelter themselves in gated communities to ignore the chaos that is the reality.
Sarmiento writes beautifully, using vivid descriptions to add depth to the horrible game and add dimensions to a world that is in stark contrast to our own. Descriptions are so vivid that you can’t help but wince when a contestant gets injured. I appreciated the meticulous descriptions of what a specific arena looks like as it really made me feel like I was there.
Each character felt distinct and easy to relate to. With simple prose, the story keeps the focus on the characters, the game, and how the two are at odds. Each chapter covers not only a specific character’s maneuverings through the game but also who they are, why they are in the game, and what they want to do should they win the money. This book is unpredictable and kept me guessing in every chapter. Catori Sarmiento has an impressive way of building up a character and then having the game pull them apart. Carnival Panic was a fun, yet dark, read that I enjoyed.
Pages: 204 | ASIN: B081Y5GR41