Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.
This week’s Throwback Thursday choice is October Rain, a science fiction/dystopian novella published in February 2016.
October Rain is the story of Steele. He is an exterminator, a bounty hunter eliminating undesirables, employed by the Martian Interstellar Correction Agency of Olympia, capital city of Mars. After five years on a slowly dying planet Steele is more than ready to leave and start a new life with his family. He has one last job to complete, in a specified time frame, before he can even hope to give his wife and daughter a better future. But Steele has no inkling of what was to come.
Sprawled on my back, I stare through the ceiling vents that reveal a dense sky bloated with volcanic storm clouds.
Shutting my eyes against the downpour, haunting memories swim in the darkness behind my lids, contaminating my soul and twisting my heart until it feels like it will rupture.
I wish I couldn’t remember.
I wish I was dead.
The setting is a distant, dystopian future where Earth is a burned out shell and those who survived have established colonies on other planets in the solar system. Steele knows nothing of Earth other than from the information housed in the Martian Museum of Human History. His ancestors had long since abandoned Earth and Steele was born and brought up on Titan, before coming to Mars.
Steele’s pursuit of his last three targeted criminals takes us from the almost deserted upper reaches of Olympia down to the horrific and deadly tunnels carved, by prisoners, out of the Martian rock below the city.
This is a great example of how believable and well-chosen dialogue between characters can convey details of the story clearly and without being too wordy. The grim environment and the brilliant action scenes are described in vivid, and at the same time, concise detail. The contrast between the atmosphere of hopelessness and decline above ground and the danger lurking in the depths of the dark, menacing tunnels is marked.
Steele is completely focussed on his job, which he keeps from his wife and daughter. The unmistakable difference between Steele at work and when he’s at home with his family is portrayed extremely well and makes him a sympathetic character. I really enjoyed this well paced story, from the compelling prologue to the dramatic and moving ending, which was a complete surprise and not at all what I was expecting.
About the Book
The human race teeters on the brink of extinction in a solar system choking under the glare of a dying sun. An assassin for the Martian Interstellar Correction Agency, Steele has one more assignment to complete before a big payoff and the chance of a new life: a job that will reveal the true horrors of mankind’s futile existence and threaten the very people who make his life worth living.
As mankind draws its final breath, what would you do to save your family?