In a not so far future, some apocalyptic disaster, destroyed the world how we know it; a central power, the Deacons, govern the society and people are cloned in number pieces and programmed to live 30 years flat: from 0 to 10 years you are trained, from 10 to 30 years less one month you work always the same job, and then you have 1 month of retirement before giving back the AI that has let you survived till that moment and receiving your “prize”, i.e. your soul will leave your mortal body to go… well no one knows exactly where, but it has to go somewhere right?
Ernest has reached 29 years and 11 months and now has a full month to enjoy his retirement; the first place he chooses to go is an old style coffee-book store; true, the coffee is not the same, it’s given through syringes or IVs, and the books are artificial tablets, but at least it’s something Ernest is doing for pleasure, spending all the money he saved before his planned death. But then the owner of the coffee place, Will, start to insinuate the doubt that there is another true, that he is not fated to die in one month, not if he will stop to report each night with the central system.
There is a lot of fight against the system theory, but also a je accuse on how people mistreated the Earth and the gifts they received from Her. Ernest is not at fault, like they are not the other like him, since he has no idea there was something different before, revolutionary knowledge like psychology and history were purged from the available data feed, and they are accessible only from the very wealthy members of the Deacons. Ernest is not gay or straight, he is chemically castrated and so he has no sexual desire at all; not only that he is also deprived of testosterone, and so without sexual desires he has also no stimulus at all.
Will recognizes in Ernest some potential, and with some good placed inputs, insinuates in him the desire to “taste” the life, and it’s not a metaphor, Ernest was fed through a shunt in his arms, no solid or liquid food at all, nothing through his mouth. When he meets Will, there will be a lot of things he will learn to do with his mouth, not only eat: taste, kiss, and many, many other pleasurable activities.
Even if a claustrophobic society, the story is not at all boring or heavy, on the contrary, it’s almost sweet and romantic; there are some sad moments, but they are balanced by other more light events, and in the end, the feeling is very much like I have read a classical romance.
Amazon: Zero Hour: A Dystopian Adventure
Amazon Kindle: Zero Hour: A Dystopian Adventure
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: JCP Books (July 26, 2011)
Cover Art by P.L. Nunn