Outland Exile: Book 1 of Old Men and Infidels
After catastrophic wars and the Meltdown, The Unity rules from its East Coast citadel, leaving the outlands to savages and its strangely altered plants. Providing free health care, employment, and ThiZ (the drug of any really civilized life), the Unity mandates retirement at forty before fatigue and error contaminate a culture of youth, innovation and vigor.
With liberating body implants, history's finest democracy supervises every citizen for her/his/its own and the nation's welfare. Seventeen-year-old Lieutenant Malila Chiu, is a veteran officer who, despite well-earned fame, finds her career in tatters. Vandalism at a distant station triggers her demotion. Facing denunciation ... or worse, Malila's one option is to enter the outlands to repair the station herself. At first, the repairs go well.
Dropping from fatigue, she wakes to find a hideously ancient savage has murdered her platoon and now holds a knife at her throat, making her the ... Outland Exile.
Ever since I saw the movie The Planet of the Apes, I have been intrigued by dystopian fantasy. I am keen to see what other writers think of our future. Outland Exile begins in the most confusing, uninteresting way. I really had to persevere to stay with the story.
But, I did keep reading and I was rewarded with a spell-binding, heart- pounding, can’t-put-this-book down story. By the end of the book, most of the dry parts made sense to me, but not all.
The main character is the fascinating enigma, Lieutenant Malila Evanova Chui, age 17 and a solder for the Unity government. The Unity controls the area of the former USA on the east coast. The wisdom and control of the Unity is absolute. Babies are birthed by breeders and raised in crèches. Citizens are controlled by drugs and computer implants. At age 40, the Sisi’s, senior citizens, are sent away. The military runs everything- all production belonged to the State.
Through politics and bad luck, Malila ends up in the Reorganized States of America, the area between the Pacific Coast mountains and the Appalachians. Malila had been taught that this area was inhabited by shamans and savages. This world is presented as the America of pioneer days. This part of the book is amazing. There are vivid descriptions, exciting adventures, memorable characters. Truly an enthralling experience awaits the reader.
As she makes her way, with an old man, through Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky she learns that the reality of the RSA is based on real emotions and real people. At the end of this book, the first in a planned series, Malila must decide whether she wants to escape from a simulated, avatar world, to a place where she can see the stars, see the smiles of an infant, and enjoy the warmth of an old man. I recommend this book and I look forward to reading more of the series.