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The Divided States Of America Bundle # 2 edited by J. Alan Erwine (ebook review).

January 18, 2019 | By | Reply More

The Divided States Of America’ is a shared world concept originated by J. Alan Erwine, editor of Nomadic Delirium Press. It’s based on a future where the United States have split up into several different powers of varying political dispositions. Writers are invited to contribute stories set against this background. The stories are available individually but also as bundles of four like this. I reviewed Bundle # 1 a while back.

Unsurprisingly, some writers have gone for serials. The stories can be read individually but are also part of a larger tale.

‘Calivada Dreaming’ by Debby Feo is the second story about Fred Selkerson, a young tourist from the Green States of America. Here he’s visiting Calivada with his Pat37 Android, which takes care of him. The title is a Beach Boys homage to tell you the old name for Calivada, though it’s clear enough in the story. After getting through the border, he visits Pacific Grove and arranges a trip to Space Platform # 3.

At the end of the piece, he sends a message to his father that he is ‘quite enjoying his trip to Calivada’, which just about sums it all up. This very low key travelogue is written with Asimovian clarity and provides an interesting look at the background but lacks drama. Perhaps it’s just setting the scene for a future tale or perhaps that’s what it’s meant to be: a travelogue.

The next three stories are by Ian Brazee-Cannon. In ‘What Lies In The Wastelands’, a crew of scientists from the wonderfully enlightened Rocky Mountain States of America drive a large research vehicle into the Wastelands. They are accosted by ‘Preppers’, brutish, gun-toting sorts who dug underground in preparation for World War III and are still fiercely independent good ol’ boys. Debra, the teenage daughter of their leader, is not happy with her lot and helps the invaders. At the end, she goes back with them to start a new life.

A few years later, she learns an old truth in the follow up story ‘Can’t Go Home Again’. Here she has grown into a fully fledged Rocky Mountain citizen, sharing their values. She leads a mission to help the people of the Wastelands who aren’t doing well at all. As implied by the name, their state is not conducive to growing food or generally getting richer.

Finally, in ‘Where Do You Go From Here’, Debra is working as a diplomat in the independent city state of St. Louis on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, still a major trade route. Oddly, very oddly, diplomats are allowed to work as freelance security guards in their spare time. By now, Debra is better than Clint Eastwood with a gun and able to cope when trouble arises as she guards a ship coming into port.

Ian Brazee-Cannon wears his liberal values on his sleeve but the stories are pretty good and the Divided States is a grand concept with many possibilities. I can’t say this is a ‘must have’ but it’s a pleasant read at a bargain price. The stories can be purchased individually at a number of e-book retailers but this bundle is only available direct from the publisher.

Eamonn Murphy

January 2019

(pub: Nomadic Delirium Press. Price $ 3.00 (US). Individual stories available at all e-book retailers for about £ 1.00 (US) or $ 1.00 (US))

check out website: https://nomadicdeliriumpress.com/blog/product/the-divided-states-of-america-bundle-2/

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Category: Books, Scifi

About the Author ()

Eamonn Murphy is a science fiction, fantasy, horror and graphic novel writer/reviewer who lives in the south-west of England. His works are at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/bigfootmurf and other ebook retailers

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