by LK Rigel, futuristic (2010)
LK Rigel, $1.99, ISBN N/A
Space Junque is the name of our hero Jake Adri's ship, in case you are wondering. This story is set in the distant post-apocalyptic setting where life isn't so pretty anymore. The sea rose, the oil supply dwindled, wars happened... that kind of thing. The environment of Earth has become so polluted that many people are succumbing into a state of physical and mental apathy, making them "ghosts". Unaffected humans live in enclosed communities, where they have to deal with the Defenders of Gaia - DOGs - environmental terrorists who wish to bomb their way into ridding the world of all technology and making it a better place for everyone.
It is in this setting that we meet our heroine Charybdis Meadowlark. When the story opens, she has obtained clearance from her twin sister's fiancé to leave Chicago and meet him in a space station, just in time to avoid the DOGs' concerted attack to the city. She has some "chaos sex" with Jake Adri during the tumultous journey there, but even as she begins to explore her feelings for him, life in space goes off in a big kaboom as the DOGs accelerate their plan to reshape the world into something that is more to their liking.
This novella is start of an actual series that will span several stories, but Space Junque ends in a manner that wraps up things pretty decently if you opt not to continue the series. Having said that, I'm definitely interested in following this series a little bit long because I find the whole premise fascinating. The characters are still a bit on the underdeveloped side here, but given that this is a novella and the first story in a series, perhaps there will be plenty of opportunities for me to know them better in the future. As they are, they are adequate. Char is a bit of a stock heroine with some baggage, Jake is a thinly drawn fellow who loves his cheesy puns and can play the Han Solo when the going gets tough. The villain's identity is tad predictable where I am concerned, and convenient too.
What attracts my attention here is the setting. Okay, the setting isn't anything too drastically different from other dystopian futuristic setting - this one even has the whole New Age-like goddess, nature, and fertility thing that can be found in other stories of this nature - but the author manages to bring them to life in an interesting manner. The pacing of this story is breakneck fast, which only adds to the tension-filled desolate "Oh no! The world is ending!" vibe that permeates this story. But I have to warn readers who would like everything about the setting to laid out from the get go - this story requires some patience on your part as you will only learn more about things like the setting and the main characters' background as the story progresses. I have no problems with this, but I know some readers who also give up on this story early on because they find the beginning chapters confusing. I can see where they are coming from, as I'm rather confused myself during those moments. But things become clearer as I go with the flow.
In a nutshell, Space Junque is a fast-paced and very entertaining tale. It's not exactly a stand out read, but it certainly manages to sell me into checking out the next story in the series.
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