Hello there and greetings to all, both to new followers and old faithfuls. Sorry if I’m echoing, but these greetings are coming to you from the depths of the Writing Pit.
I am currently pretty much a permanent resident of said Pit. As I hinted at in my last post I have one of those things: a deadline. So this Pit comes complete with a Pendulum.
Tell me you didn’t see that one coming.
As I always say, however, progress is steady. Which is genuinely is if you make the time to write and keep yourself engaged with your draft.
Thus, I soldier on and you will be the first to know whenever I get a chance to come up for air.
Further to this aim, I am off on a writing retreat this weekend. I am really excited. I can honestly say nothing compares to the productivity you achieve when you go away somewhere and concentrate on nothing but writing. Fingers crossed for reaching of heady new heights of production and engagement this weekend.
My usual haunt, Gladstone’s Residential Library in Cheshire was, unfortunately, fully booked so I am instead taking full advantage of the wonderful countryside that is just on my doorstep and staying in a hotel in Grange-Over-Sands, Cumbria. Horror writer M. J. Wesolowski of The Black Land has used this location as a retreat in the past and his description of the remote location and chocolate-box town has won me over.
I scouted it out last weekend and it is like a fairy tale town. The train goes over an estuary, complete with egrets, and the station is right on the water. If anyone has ever seen Spirited Away, it’s just like the train ride Chihiro takes across the water. Inspirational or what?
So I will no doubt check in from there, for sanity’s sake if nothing else.
In the meantime, I simply couldn’t wait any longer to give you my review of this SciFi novel I read last month by Michael Patrick Hicks: the unparalleled Convergence.
Enjoy the review, stay tuned and, if you’re looking for action, drama and adventure in your Autumn night reading, head to Amazon for a copy of Convergence!
(If you’re after two of a kind, my debut SciFi Space Pirate romp, Zero, is also out on Amazon in paperback & ebook form and still receiving consistently positive reviews ^_^)
‘Convergence‘: Michael Patrick Hicks
Convergence is the first of Michael Patrick Hicks, SciFi writer’s books that I’ve read. And, boy, was it an action-packed blast of a novel.
It’s set in a post-revolutionary America where the oppressive establishment has rounded up those who have so far survived the take-over into refugee camps little better than internment camps. There’s security checks, poor rations, poor living conditions. Crammed into these camps are what once were the ordinary people of modern day America, suddenly without jobs, homes or stability. Families have been split up or destroyed and every semblance of their lives overturned.
The main character, Jonah Everitt, has tried desperately to find a way to scrape by with his sanity in tact, whilst trying to keep his daughter alive and manage an ever-increasing need to experience other people’s memories.
Surgically implanted computer ports in the brain are the norm for people of this generation, allowing them to upload and download the memories and thoughts of themselves and others, meaning they can relive moments of intense emotion whenever they choose. But in this war-torn world, what began as a recreational and commercial activity is now at once a commodity and weapon. Information is power and with people’s thoughts and memories recorded and stored and accessible by others, literally everyone’s information is up for grabs.
It’s when there’s information that more than one person is, with power, weapons and influence, is after it that the problems really start to escalate.
Convergence is fast-paced, full of action and a thrilling ride from start to finish. Everitt struggles even more than he perhaps realises to cope with the hand that’s been dealt him, and sometimes makes questionable decisions in his fight for survival. But you’re right there with him and want him to succeed, however he goes about it. You ache for his redemption, or even just a crumb of comfort or stability, right along with him.
The language is clipped and bold, which is what you want for this kind of story. It keeps the prose active and doesn’t tell you what to think. You come away with your own ideas about the situations and the characters but cannot entirely argue that you wouldn’t be doing the same things were you in their shoes, be they friend or enemy.
The plot is many-layered and intricately woven. The narrative stays tight, focusing on Everitt’s journey, but you learn of the vast reality that’s the backdrop to his experiences. This is how I love to explore fictional worlds rife with intrigue, strife and wide-reaching ramifications: through the eyes of one or two characters only. It makes you feel like you’re living in it with them. Disturbing as this can be at times, it makes the narrative real, which is what I like in my escapism. I want to believe. And with Hicks, I do.
There is violence, depth of feeling, explosions, car chases and tenderness. The book has everything and is perfect for those who like their SciFi gritty, edgy and realistic.
May there be many more.