The Biomass Revolution by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A thought-provoking and prophetic insight into Earth’s future
The BioMass Revolution is a fascinating, sombre, and ultimately inspiring story of man’s fight for survival post nuclear war, set at a time when a semblance of civilisation has re-emerged from the ashes.
It took me a while to sink into this story due to the extended collection of viewpoints that include two main characters who thread through to the end. Give it time. The numerous characters present an overview of the different factions in a war between revolutionaries and the now dominant State that controls the energy source, Biomass. These layers are needed to give the reader an awareness of the different factions manoeuvring together for the uplifting climax and convey the ever present threat of death. There are a couple of twists: one relationship twist that I suspected, and one relationship, right at the end that I did not, but with no foreshadowing that I could find looking back.
The story’s strength lies in its understated horror of the aftermath that follows nuclear war. The author ably shows how human ideology can easily diverge depending on personal interests. If you are top of the chain in a state that has carved a reasonable standard of living, self-interest easily translates into protecting your followers—electorate/citizens—within a thinly-veiled dictatorship. Anyone outside the inner circle of power is redefined as the enemy. Compassion and human kindness to fellow man is forgotten. This is man at his cruellest. The hope in this story is that when poverty and destitution and suffering eventually do seize the opportunity for revolution, there are still those living the good life who will rise up and defend the unfortunate against the unacceptable.
Even though it was disconcerting to have so many characters introduced then go, as the story progressed, I appreciated the numerous layers being laid one upon the other as the culmination of a revolution approached.
Overall, this book is a frightening insight into what lies in store for mankind if we continue to raid Earth’s resources and allow corporations (that exist today) to control access to our basic needs for survival. I can highly recommend this book.
(On Amazon.co.uk as a verified purchase.)
Squad 19 – Prequel Volume 1 by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(This is a review of a collection Squad 19 and A Royal Knight – Prequels Volume 1 & 2 (The Tisaian Chronicles), which I got from Amazon.co.uk as a verified purchase. You have here my combined review for both!)
A thoughtfully crafted glimpse into the motives of two men on opposite sides of a war
I so enjoyed these two short tales in this precursor to The BioMass Revolution, a book I read and reviewed first. The stories delve into the lives of two warriors from opposing sides of a war and both are very satisfying reads, opening up new dimensions to two characters in the main story to follow.
This first story, Squad 19, neatly uses the origin of a necklace to both introduce the revolutionary leader of Squad 19 and what he stands for. Obi Hepe is experienced, tough, cares for those under his protection, and is utterly committed to his cause. His story neatly foreshadows a twist in The BioMass Revolution, and although I still feel it should have been foreshadowed at the time, it nicely satisfied my curiosity.
A Royal Knight – Prequel Volume 2 by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
The second story (see Volume 2), A Royal Knight, introduces Captain McNeil, charged by the State to bring down Squad 19. He is experienced, tough, cares for those under his protection, and is utterly committed to his cause.
Herein lies the beauty of the two stories: Two men on opposing sides who are both likeable and principled, both a leader and a hero. Which man is on the side of right is a matter of perception. The reader (at least, I did) will naturally side with the revolutionaries, but seeing Captain McNeil’s version of events, nicely sets the stage for the humane and intelligent outcome in The BioMass Revolution.
Read both books and find out for yourself. I applaud the author for the points made by these two short stories. Five stars.