Title: Existence AugmentedI received a digital version of this novelette (47 pages) from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Channing Whitaker
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Digital copy provided by the author
Amazon UK, Goodreads
Plot Summary: Existence Augmented is a dystopian, sci-fi novelette and psychological thriller. The world outside is cold, hostile, and virtually lifeless. Human existence depends on sophisticated, technological living compounds. The people who don’t have them, once driven to theft and murder, are believed to be long since dead. Alden, a genius of physical and computer engineering, spends his time tending his hydroponics garden, maintaining and improving the complex systems critical to survival, and, in turn, continually refining the pleasant life he’s created with his wife, Laurel. On a day like any other, everything is following Alden’s plans until the power begins to fail…
Find the author's website here.
What did I think?
Channing Whitaker is a master of misdirection, and I must admit even though I read quite a bit of science fiction, and this novelette is only forty-seven pages long, he managed to surprise me more than once.
It's obviously a very quick read, and I don't want to give away too much of the plot. Whitaker has a brilliant imagination and his scenes are filled with vivid details. I enjoyed the prose, and the story flowed at a nice pace.
Obviously, forty-seven pages is not a lot of time to flesh out a character, but Alden felt like a real person, and I emphasised a lot with him. He's got believable flaws and I enjoyed the way Whitaker developed him throughout the piece. The author slowly reveals more about Alden by showing us how he deals with the challenges this dystopian world throws at him.
The world building is intriguing, and I'd very much like to find out more about this setting...maybe at some point in a full-length novel?
I will definitely read more by this author and recommend Existence Augmented to anyone who is a fan of the genre and enjoys when the world is rather bleak.