To commence, I would like to thank Nicholas Adams for sending me a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.
Award-winning doctor Malcolm Silverstra finds himself exiled after a study of his that led to the creation of artificial organs which although revolutionary, to begin with, had unknown, unpredictable and sinister side-effects. At the initial stages, he was heralded and everything was rosy, until he is blamed for the breakout of the deadly Scald virus which threatens to wipe out humanity. This causes his eviction from the world he has always known and he finds himself isolated above the Artic Circle in what I analysed as some sort of laboratory prison with only his Scald suffering, paralysed wife for company. At the beginning of the narrative, an official who is known as The Warden essentially states that Malcolm has seven days to find a fix/cure for the Scald or he will be executed. Following this, I believed that the novella would be about the doctor working blood, guts and all to do this to avoid imminent death. The premise reminded me of Stephen King’s The Stand with the Superflu wiping out 99% of humanity. Whereas The Stand outlines and discusses the happening in the outside world following the destruction, this tale is a lot more linear, merely focusing on Malcolm and his paralysed wife Cynthiana. The preliminary stages are slightly misleading. Perhaps Malcolm forgot or ignored The Warden’s orders but the novella is probably a better read because it went in a different direction to what I predicted. It is about the doctor trying to cure his wife who currently lies about eighty percent paralysed lying in a bed of pink goo due to his scientific negligence.
I am not sure when this is based. I do analyse a slight science fiction vibe but, it could be modern days if certain chemical factors and mechanical miscalculations had led to such an outbreak. I can honestly say, and this is greatly acclaimed by me, that this short but highly enthralling story is unlike anything I have ever read before.
It is essentially a character study about Malcolm and Cynthiana who desperately love each other despite however adverse the situation is in which they are frequenting. Malcolm is truly loyal and obviously highly intelligent. He spends his time trying to cure his partner’s paralysis with artificial limbs and eventually he creates a sympathetic being that his wife’s mind can amazingly control even though she lies permanently immobile. There are many touching scenes when after, say eighteen months of Malcolm caring for her, Cynthiana – or Synthia are able to enjoy each other as lovers more than they ever imagined would be possible again.
It is a really touching book analysing the power of love, the possibilities of science and the unknown capabilities of our unconscious. The ending is ultimately thrilling and like other reviews have said, it leaves us gagging for me.
As a short novella, apart from the descriptions of feelings, relationships and science equipment – the majority of the remaining parts of the visual image we have to complete for ourselves such as the environment, the rooms in which the action takes place etc… That is fine by me, though.
The book is written in the 3rd person perspective. At the start of the novel, Malcolm’s thoughts were presented in the 1st person which I thought was an unusual but really interesting touch so much that I noted it down on my review-pad. That was the only time that device was present throughout this story though. I noticed a couple of grammatical errors but nothing to take away from my overall enjoyment of this intriguing and engaging novella.
The author is kindly giving away this Novella for free to people who sign up to his twitter account. Reading this is a great way to spend an hour or two of your time. I recommend that you pick it up right now. I will 100% sign up for the author’s full lengths as I can review that as a great story teller he has a lot to present that couldn’t be truly organically presented by him in such a short story.