Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-260-9
Tracy Dwayne Jocelyn Higgs, our hero, prefers to be called Higgs because he used to go to a boarding school and you can imagine how a kid with his name will fare in that environment. But he has a more pressing problem at hand. He’s in a large shopping mall, of all places, with no recollections of how he ended up in that place, and he’s forbidden to leave that place. Worse, he’s part of the crew that prevent other people from leaving the place.
Apparently terrorists are constantly lurking in the scary big world outside the place so the people in charge of security have declared a permanent state of emergency. Those rare souls who dare to attempt to escape the shopping mall are never seen again. What is going on here?
Homeland is set in a future where, as Information Officer Sims informs Tracy, “It’s a place to inspire all true citizens. People going about their daily business in freedom. Free to live, to love, to shop. And all of this is possible only through the vigilance of Homeland. With, of course, a little help from security officers such as yourself and information officers such as yours truly.” However, Tracy along with a ragtag group of disenfranchised liberals and his love interest Doctor Jodi Francis will soon realize that we can’t have too many modern-day Orwellian tales telling Americans how they should vote in the coming election.
What makes this story most amusing is the author’s sense of humor. Tracy soon discovers that the ordinary folks in the mall are terrified of the uniform he is wearing and the first words that come out from their mouths when they encounter him are: “I’m not a terrorist”. There are many quirky aspects of the story that I adore but I’ll let readers discover them for themselves since this is a story that works best when the reader does not know what to expect from it. I confess I roll up my eyes when Captain Saddam bin Laden is introduced in the story but on the whole, this story is put together wonderfully, with all the satiric elements and humor coming together for a most entertaining tale indeed.
Homeland doesn’t have anything new to say that liberal-minded folks hadn’t said in the past or will say in the future, but it’s such a charming and amusing tale of the Shopping Mall of Doom that may appeal to like-minded readers of a certain political persuasion.