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February 5th, 2009

There various type of futuristic romance, but I have in mind three main genre: the one I tagged Back to the Future, in which the futuristic setting resembles a past world, where people are back to living as in the eighteen century or even Middle Ages; then there is the Apocalypse Now setting, where the world that we actually know doesn't exist no more and people lives in an eternal war zone; finally there is the aseptic future, where people are deprived of emotions, where every single planet, or star, or moon in the universe is a "new" colony, but where the real world is only a cherished memory. Both stories in this collection fall in this last setting.

Dark Robe Heart: Dark Robe Society 1 by Jason Edding: Jack Harrow is the endless clone of himself. He is more than four hundred years old, but only his brain remembers it, his body is sparkling new, designed to please the whims of his owner. Jack Harrow is a very wealthy man, with the chance to live forever, how many lifes he likes, but he is not happy. Being immortal has an high price and Jack is not so sure that he is still willing to pay it. But leaving the Dark Robe society is like signing your death sentence. Jack is running away, trying to reach a new colony by the name of Europa: everything in this story has a long lost memory flavor, even the name of the planet that could be Jack new land (how strange, in the past when people went searching for a New World they were leaving Europa, and here instead Jack is searching to reach it). During his travel he meets Edge, a young cadet that is travelling toward Europa to start his term of service; like the new life Jack is searching, Edge is new and somewhat innocent, he tickles feelings in Jack that he has never felt in a long time, maybe he never felt. Problem is that Jack knows that there is an assassin out there sent to kill him, and he doesn't want to involve Edge in his run for life. The story is strange, for how much aseptic is the world in which is setting, and detached is Jack with this world and his life, when Jack and Edge are together, they are even too much "down and dirty"; they do things that only in a porn movie you can find... I wonder if this is a metaphor... when you are so detached from your true feeling, you can only feel through your body, and more physical stimulus you can find, more real will feel what you are doing?
The Bright Side of Midnight by Angela Fiddler: this is almost a tragedy; a man whom father and brother betray the colony in which they were leaving, returns back to that same colony to study a virus killing the miners. The man who finances his research is the same man who wants to find his brother at every cost. And Tavish, our hero, falls in love with the man's son, Jordan. But as in all tragedy worthy of this name, also Jordan is dying from that same illness and to delay the unavoidable, he had become addicted to the Dope, a drug that has the power to modify the mood. Who is really Jordan? What does he want from Tavish? Is he another weapon in the hand of his father? There are a lot of characters that came out from this story, Jordan, Fox (Jordan's father's pet slave), Thomas (Tavish's brother), even Royal, Tavish's former lover, but of all of them, the one that really doesn't come out is Tavish. He is a reclusive hero, very few time we share his feelings and emotions, and I really didn't understand his reason to come back to the mining colony. The story ends quite abruptly, something is explained but a lot of points are still pending. I have the feeling that the author is not yet finished with these characters.

Truth be told, both stories have not a real ending point, but I know that Jason Edding has ready a new chapter in his series. Of the two, his story was the one that was heavier on the futuristic setting, he also gave a lot of details to explained the past story of his characters, and the reason why the world is like that; Angela Fiddler's story instead is almost ageless, it could be well being set even in an historical era and still sounds the same: the reason why of its existence it was not the futuristic setting, but the betrayal that lies inside the inner circle of a family, a story old like the time.


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