Friday, March 18, 2016

Fugitive From Asteron by Gen LaGreca

Fugitive From Asteron

Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Winged Victory Press ()
ISBN-13: 978-0974457925
Kindle: 870 KB
Publisher: Winged Victory Press; 1 edition (January 4, 2016)

Available on Amazon

YA Political SF in Retro-Classic Style

"This was to be the day I ended my life."

The first line of Fugitive from Asteron takes us straight into the mind of Arial, as he lies curled up, bloody and beaten, on the floor of his cell. Arial is a young man who is a citizen of Asteron, a world that is reminiscent of North Korea. Everyone is an underfed, overworked, property-less drone who must obey the supreme ruler. Everyone is equally a slave. That's where the story of Arial's escape to freedom starts.

Fugitive from Asteron is written in an interesting style for a science fiction novel. It feels like a gothic-style fable, as if the narrator were from the late 19th century. Which, strangely, fits since it is told from Arial's point of view, who as someone who has grown up in Asteron, raised and educated by the state, is very insulated and naive. He is also emotional, daring, and impulsive, which is what gets him into trouble.

It took me a little while to get used to the style but the story is actually engaging and fun once I accepted the style. Imagine Flash Gordon if it was about someone escaping from Ming The Merciless to Earth. That said, the book actually tackles very serious themes of liberty and free will, but in a way that doesn't make them feel too heavy or depressing. It just makes you think.

What I liked about this book is that it showed that Arial's escape to freedom was not accomplished by just physically escaping. He had to learn how to be free and that meant unlearning all the conditioning and propaganda he'd grown up with. He always had the spark that yearned for freedom but letting that loose was a journey in itself. No spoilers but I do like how he makes that journey.

This is a great book for Young Adult readers to start thinking about freedom and the state, that doesn't leave the reader feeling depressed or pessimistic, like some classics might (1984, Brave New World, etc.)

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