Some call it “The Hush” – the time when the world went quiet. Electricity is no more, people have mostly vanished and there is a deathly silence…doesn’t actually sound too bad to me, to be honest 😉
I love dystopian fiction and especially when a writer tries out something a little different. ‘The Veil’ by Joseph D’Lacey is a collection of two novellas set in the same crumbling wasteland where a fungus-like plague is slowly taking over the world. In a similar way to John Wyndham’s classic ‘Day of the Triffids’, D’Lacey has used the natural world to create a tale of apocalyptic fiction straight out of the top draw. I will be honest in saying that it took me a few chapters to really get into this but once I did I found the world D’Lacey has created to be enthralling and scary.
The first novella features a strong female protagonist who is seen as a sort of leader amongst the remnants of the survivors hiding inside an old station. She is a reluctant hero, simply making the most of what little opportunities lie outside as she and others go scavenging for supplies to keep themselves alive. The monsters on the outside are called “commuters”, people who were once human, nobody really knows what it is they are after, they seem to want to absorb all others into their collective, a little like ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’. For me the story really picks up when her and two other characters leave the compound in search of a better life. There is constant fear everywhere they turn, even the ground they walk on isn’t safe due to the fungus. D’Lacey does well with his character development considering this is only a novella and a surprising yet sad ending finishes the story on a high.
The second novella follows a man trapped underground, a prisoner slowly being taken up to be digested by the fungus (I assume?). He reflects on his journey there, about his time with his family and how a mistake led to his capture. Again the storytelling is superb, the characters are well developed, engaging and are easily identifiable. It is another sad, emotional story that makes it another fantastic novella. Similarly the ending to this one is superb and the images created in the stories final scenes are fantastic and weird. There are plans for further stories within this world and I for one am more than keen to see where Joseph D’Lacey takes us to next.
Another hit for Horrific Tales Publishing. Pre-order the ebook now at Amazon and get it for 99c! An absolute steal!