Short but packed full of suspense.,
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This review is from: Advancement of the Species (Kindle Edition)
SPOILERS: You've been warned.
The book begins with the Overseers, an unidentified being I can only assume is of godlike proportions to monitor and take interest in a seemingly uninteresting individual and central character of the story, Rodney. Rodney who, like the author, suffers from numerous disabilities, is a lost soul in a hectic world who is a social outcast and relies upon his emotionally abusive mother for everything. He lacks from motivation or will to do anything with his life, that is until his mothers unforeseen death due to her alcoholism. With no father or family to turn too, he is lost and lonely - Until he comes across a book he purchased unknowingly: The Veileder, a philosophical guide for every aspect of life... And death.
The Veileders author, Dr. Krokulf contacts Rodney out of the blue requesting Rodney to make the lengthy journey in order to meet him. With his blood flowing and a new found determination, Rodney makes the six hour journey only to be involved in an accidental car crash off the road just short of reaching his objective. Awaking the next morning, he continues with his quest on foot through Vennskap Valley, when he stumbles across the true reason he is there; contacted again by Dr. Krokulf he is pointed in the direction of his objective when he comes across a beautiful young woman, Amber. Amber leads him into a hidden Utopian-like society living in the valley under the protection of a dome constructed by Dr. Krokulf, an engineer and technical prodigy of savant-like proportion.
We are then greeted with Dr. Krokfulf's story of why the society was founded, for those outcast in society to create a better society, away from the society that seemingly loathes them, a society tainted by selfishness. Instead, Vannskep Valley's society is founded on the belief that the 'meeks' as they are referred several times can found an egalitarian society through education and restriction. That being said, I could immediately predict, not perfectly, the direction the story would then take. Dr. Krokulf's reminiscence of rejection from his family, peers, and society has heavy anti-corporate and anti-capitalist undertones. I knew from this moment on this version of society was my idea of hell on Earth, and reflects an extreme form of Utopian socialism.
Several months pass and Rodney who has found commonality with the disabled-made-abled and empowered citizens of Vennskap Valley has become partnered with the attractive ex-model-turned-disfigured outcast Amber, and now works for the societies Centre of Education. Children are monitered under extreme conditions, including their vital signs. Diets are strictly controlled. Television and contact with the outside world is strictly forbidden. However all of its citizens live seemingly peaceful lives. That is until Doug, another citizen with Cerebral Palsy, goes missing after mocking another citizen.
Visiting Dr. Krokulf whose health has taken a turn for the worse, Rodney is handed a mysterious key. Krokulf then quickly slips away and dies. Continuing his search for Doug, Rodney secretly enters into the forbidden and Orwellian named Centre for Correction, to find that far from being a place of treatment, those who have broke the rules are severely tortured in the worst ways humanly possible according to Dr. Krokulf's demands. Far from being a peaceful man, Krokulf reflects real life henchman such as Josef Mengele or even Adolf Eichmann, and like these people his obsession with perfection is exposed.
Returning to Amber, Rodney reveals the key and Amber has him follow. With much being unexplained, the military find the secretive society and helicopters penetrate its dome with soldiers rappelling from ropes and guns shooting. Heading for an underground installation underneath the society, Amber leads Rodney to a control station where she attempts to use the key against her own fingerprint. Unsuccessful, Rodney quickly realizes the key is for a biological missile that will destroy humanity. Revealing what his found and the fact he has barely read The Veileder, he is quickly disposed of by Amber who uses He, the chosen one by Krokulf, to launch the missile.
The Overseers who interrupt the flow of the story throughout for inclusion of anecdotes regarding the state of humanity and its comparisons against other species, summarize what has happened before quickly turning their attention to another Earth-like marble planet, where the reader will find a quick 'pick-me-up' cliffhanger from the chaos and destruction of the story.
This short story is engaging and suspenseful and easily read over the course of an afternoon or several work breaks. I would certainly recommend it and hope Ian Quin the author writes another lengthier book, perhaps without the Overseers, as I personally found their interruptions tiresome. 4/5 - money well spent.