We don't know exactly when Literature® takes place and we don't know exactly where. All we know is that Philip Marlowe would fit right in.
We don't get Marlowe though. We get Billy Stringer. And Billy is on nobody's trail.
He's the prey.
The day hasn't begun very well for Billy. He just messed up his first big assignment, he's definitely going to be late for work, his girlfriend won't get back to him and, for reasons she has something to do with, he's dressed like a clown.
Also, he's pretty sure someone is going to kill him today. But then, that's an occupational hazard, when you're a terrorist.
He's a bookworm too, which wouldn't be a problem–or particularly interesting–except that in Billy's world, fiction is banned. Reading it is what makes him an outlaw.
Why? Because people need to get to work.
It's fight or flight time for Billy and he's made his choice. But he has to see Jane, even if it's for the last time–to explain it all to her, before she finds out what he has become. That means staying alive for a little while.
And the odds are against him.
"Literature® speaks to the industrialization of art, and also to the link between alienation and radicalization in consumerist societies. Mainly though, it speaks to our need for great stories, by providing one. The conceptual is never allowed to overpower the human. This is a love story. There is heart here, and heartache. And, crucially, a chase scene."
Published July 1st 2018 by Nineveh Editions
“We get you in here, harness this tendency of yours. Or we leave you out there where they can get you first. Where you, my friend, are easy prey for radicalization. And believe me, they know about you, they’re interested in you. If we are, they are”
- Guillermo Stitch
Billy Stringer finds himself in the hot seat after touring the new Gripping Tails® facility for the Herald Paper. Targeted by Murphy the guide, his day just started going south and it’s not his journalism that got him here. He knows it!
Billy lives in a dystopian, futuristic world during the Second Enlightenment. Bookstores don’t exist anymore. Printed and digital media has been purged and most citizens don’t want to have anything to do with the contraband items. The authorities are eager to enforce this with laws, rules and taxes upon, going as far as espionage.
Billy’s generation already grew up with the absence of printed materials. The Herald is the only permissible source left that hasn’t been banned. The sports department of the paper where Billy works, is the largest office of the drab grey building with drab grey furniture, offering more comfort then any of the other departments. Call it a little gig if you will, but Billy’s and his girlfriend’s future are brighter than most….that is, if they can abandon some addictive past time activities.
“They both had smart mouths but Jane’s was smarter. They both liked to be one step ahead but Jane got there more often. Each wanted to be seen to take care of the other. Jane was better at it.”
- Guillermo Stitch
Murphy enforces the offer for Billy to join Gripping Tails®. He lets him go to think it over and sends some muscle suits on his trail for surveillance. If this wasn’t bad enough of a day, his girlfriend breaks up with him via text message and then goes missing. The next 24 hours become a race of life and death as danger looms in dark alleys and close to home. Too close!
This dystopian novella with Orwellian feel is enhanced with gritty, page turning suspense leaving the reader riveted and on the edge. Well written, it offers satirical moments and alarmingly suffocating elements, creating empathy for the characters in the world they live in. The thought provoking concept adds depth to the premise while the plot delivers unforeseeable twists.
To my surprise, this novella is a mighty piece of fiction. The characters are well developed and the measured writing delivers flawlessly. With the ending impossible to suspect, it left me lingering with my own thoughts of interpretation…which is exactly the intent I think. I very much enjoyed this futuristic piece of noir.
I received a digital copy of 'Literature®' by the author in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you.