SC Hayden’s novella will certainly appeal to dystopian fiction fans. I’m thinking Hayden watched a few movies including Logan’s Run, The Running Man and The Hunger Games before writing this, as the story has some similar ideas and themes. That’s not to say this is merely fan fiction. On the contrary, I really enjoyed my time spent in and around this post-apocalyptic New York where rising seas have submerged most of the once-great city. The only way to survive it seems is to scavenge foods and supplies from under the water. People still reside on the upper floors of the tallest buildings, but a life spent eating contaminated foods has seen them turn into monsters and freaks.
Hayden certainly packs a lot of ideas inside this novella. I mentioned Logan’s Run previously, in Hayden’s world once you reach 40 years of age your time is up. However, Hayden has created some interesting ways in which the citizens can shed their mortal coil! The totalitarian government that operates under the strict rule of Orwellian figure Commander Martin is eerily reminiscent of North Korea. Many things remain taboo, sex is frowned upon, people who copulate are looked upon as pigs, un-fulfilling their destiny as valued citizens of society.
The characters, too, are pretty well fleshed-out considering the restrictions of the novella form. Edray, in particular, is excellent. Here is a man conflicted with what he wants out of life and though his path is perhaps a little obvious, I still enjoyed the journey. He isn’t the typical tough-talking meat-head that can so often plague this genre of fiction.
There is much to like about A Knife, A Fork, A Bottle, & A Cork. There is an endless well of ideas crammed inside this novella, though it never feels as if there is too much going on. A strong protagonist and a vivid landscape, coupled with nods to various movies, books and even video games meant I was a very happy man indeed come the final few pages.
4/5 contaminated fish from the Grim Reader.
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