Back into the shadows – the soft, caressing darkness. Using the angry shriek of pursuing sirens as a guide and their flashing lights as a reverse beacon, a wraith once more, he traverses the rust stained slums with ease. Emaciated streets drift by his peripheral, left behind by negligence stemming from unrestrained capitalism and special interests, the landscape blends together as the motion blur directs his eyes to the rapidly approaching destination. Throughout the concrete kingdom that is the metropolis, signs of a lost time are strewn about, a time of blind faith, xenophobia, decadence, and life in overwhelming vanity. Faded billboards litter the skyline with partially destroyed images of happiness and wealth. Manufactured faces from upon high divinely cast subliminal ideals in promise of a false happiness personified. From the level of the proletariat, plastic eyes look on from the storefronts, mannequins stripped of their coverings, their blank soiled faces looking into eternity asking for a dignified end. Few windows show light from within, a quiet defiance of the emptiness that seems to have conquered this place.
The sounds of destruction die down as safety draws nigh, a safe house within a provincial prison, but more importantly – his home. Hypnotic, the double heel click of mile ridden boots echo within familiar passages, but something breaks this regular sense of ease, perverting a rare and short sense of comfort.
Deep in the absence of light, the air seems to bleed moisture as the night sky releases heat through the endless, cracked asphalt. Trash litters the alley, a space well within the wingspan of an average person. Paper scraps tumble and blow like synthetic leaves, hugging the walls, lost within the journey towards pure entropy. Skyward, chemical mists summoned just above the high rise homes of the bourgeoisie flow aimlessly in the turbulent artificial winds of the metropolitan cityscape.
Familiar sounds echo off the brick and masonry of the alley: the footsteps of a shadow, seemingly lost within the perpetual tension of a class-segregated society. Profaning the simplicity the sounds of age, decay, and time pollute the immediate area, forcing its material existence to seem rough and disorganized. Thoughtfully, the ghost fades through the darkness, lit only by ambient city light, a light with no source, that never sleeps. Harshly making turn after turn with a familiarity displaying deep knowledge of the slums a hand is placed upon the crumbling brick. This contact momentarily combining the many singular droplets of water into a shining surface that for an instant reflected the face of a man, weary yet alert, alone in the night.
Lost in concentration, eerily machine-like, and locked in an unwavering pace, the lone traveler continues on… Crushing his consistent stride with a sharp discordant halt, he fuses to the wall, his gaze fixed on the single red light, an Eye, perched above the next corner. One of the red city sensors: surveillance nodes, scanning, calculating, and penetrating the last threads of privacy. The Eyes are just one of the constant reminders that every single aspect of life is being watched; a twisted perversion of Locke’s state of nature culminating in a conflicted existence under complete dominance. No further could he use the safety of the alley; the street, with its many dangers even this late would be his only possible route free from the eyes of Elite soldiers. A deep intake of breath, straining his lungs to maximum capacity, a pause, then explosions ripping though every muscle send him hurtling into the open street out of reach of digital eyes. Continue reading “Émigré 1 – 1674 Checkpoint”
Full disclosure, no punches pulled, and get your riot gear; this is will be a review of the fourth libation “Assault Ruinland”, a chalice filled with blood. Similar yet slightly differently than Nietzsche before him, CJ Anderson has stared long and hard into the abyss only to find nothing staring back, only the rules and limitations of our physical universe, plus the clear and present danger of a future razed by the hell fires of faith. I welcome you, dear reader, to the demise of the Phoenix and the silent wait thereafter, as nothing rises from the ashes.
The breakneck pace of Assault will upend you from the start, The Fate of Chiron echoing in the bridge of a salvage ship, as the sad empty face of a combat synthetic comes to terms with it’s insignificance within the cosmos. An interesting way to start the fourth sacrificial tome of the Ruinland series, with an emphasis on the human conflict; but want not, as the evolutionary synthetic mind is given a new voice later in the wake of a manhunt for the murderer of Fort Bragg’s golden calf Lexa.
Chiron the centaur, educating the young Achilles on the lyre, providing tension and reverence guiding the soul of Dante in the seventh level of hell, and the human-beast amalgamation matching the skills of even the Apollonian Gods. The focus and antagonist in “Fate of Chiron”, CJ Anderson’s third entry into the Ruinland series, treads new territory in this easily recognizable world. The ash and soot figure prominently once again, but with a new pace, a new face, and the fate of a world cindered by faith.
Is it possible to hide away from the world? Could a collective just weld the doors; thus, with the right amount of scientific and social planning, create a self-sustaining ecology, capable of a blissful ignorance? “An isolationist xenophobic’s wet dream” you may mumble under your breath, as examples of non uniform thought in even the most aligned civilizations since the beginning of humanity, invade your consciousness.
It is in this light I wish to paint this review of the second portion of the Ruinland Series from C.J. Anderson; patience, all will be explained shortly…
“Survive Ruinland” begins immediately after the first entry, “Enter Ruinland“, and to my inward smile, as the blended, godless lecture, and descriptive stylings have now become synonymous with the rigid geometry of C.J’s worlds. Our protagonist, or antagonist as you may see when we finish this verbal sparing, Petty Officer Lauren Vasquez has breached an oasis in the irradiated dust, graciously invited in like a protein through the wall of a cell.
Naturally, one is supposed to be left feeling incomplete and mistreated by the first installment of a dystopian short story, rife with intentionally coarse and jagged imagery, right? Walking into this title knowing only the inspirations cited by the author and his religious history leading to the complete dismissal of faith; I braced myself for a Nietzchean Übermensch battling the relentless ash layered ruinscapes of Macarthy’s roads. To varying degrees I was entertained by many emotional peaks and valleys as my expectations were met, surpassed, and in some cases left wanting. Continue reading “Review of CJ Anderson’s “Enter Ruinland””