Book: The Carol of The Reactors
Author: Vishal Suchak
Bookhad Rating: ♥♥♥
It has been a long long time since we put something up. By long we mean more than two years ago and we were itching to restart and get back into the book reviewing business.
The pandemic gave the world an excuse to us humankind to step back and recalculate our lives; it gave us the quiet moment that we needed, but didn’t rightly deserve, to consider where we stood, and where we were headed. Enough has been said and heard regarding the effects of politics in the current scenario and, since this is not the platform for political commentary, we will refrain from it.
That said, it doesn’t matter what we want about renouncing social commentary and political critique in this here blog, when something comes up that is uncomfortably close to a reality that we have come to imagine. A world that has changed in its dynamics. A world that is based on physical segregation and isolation. A world in which the exception has suddenly become the norm.
The Carol of the Reason is a book which exists in the realms of a reality that is dichotomous in more than way. Humankind has been cleaved into two glaring groups. Physically and socially; the two groups stand out but do intermingle in cases. Physically, the “mutants” are described as having a ‘radioactive green hue’ with far more pronounced muscles and ‘furry clumps of green hair’ on their ‘shoulder, back, thighs and calves’. Socially; they’re kept away from the “Untainted”, outside the home of the Untainted humans which is called The Diablo Terrarium. A massive structure inside which no mutant is allowed apart from undertaking strict measures.
The outside world is Radioactive, after all.
The Chief Administrator, the number 1 in command of The Diablo terrarium, and the other members of the management are attempting to converge the two bifurcated population into one.
Just like old times.
But, just like old times, politics is ever present in the very midst of the Terrarium and outside. There are Untainted Humans sympathetic to the cause of the Mutants and their wellbeing. There are Mutants who don’t hate the Untainted because they are, as a matter of fact, untainted and living in far better conditions than the Mutants.
But, of course, there is a healthy amount of severe radicalization on both sides. Some not so apparent, some obviously so.
The writer, Vishal Suchak has had a rather successful career in Advertising and Digital Communication spanning across continents. His writing style is an eclectic mixture of metaphors and colloquialisms; sparse usage of the former, and a rather ample use of the latter. But, he draws the line when asked directly about it, because it’s all without forethought. The narrative of the book is smooth and the story line is compelling. It sails effortlessly and draws the reader in. My love for Dystopia and Fantasy is evident from my choices, and this one falls squarely under Dystopia and Fantasy and partially under Science Fiction.
Speaking of Dystopia, I would like to point out a few peculiarities regarding it. The book dwells on the future of an explosion which renders the world radioactive but, like the expected arc of a dystopian society, does not result in a world bereft of even some technology. The human race does not start from a blank slate. On the contrary, I-phones and Tablets and Internet is rather ubiquitous in usage and even more advanced technology is hinted at. The dichotomy is present in all visions of the writer. I am in no position to know whether this was an intentional idea, or simply a result of his work.
Personally speaking, there was a character that was a pleasure to read, purely because of the schooling in philosophy that dripped from every word. Dr. Hudson was, at a time, the only mutated scientist on board of the united Nations’ task force. But, professional eccentricities scared his peers and finally ejected him away. He now lives in squalor in the outside world. It’s a pleasure to hear him speak. Some might find him to be a hackneyed version of all geniuses, but it was personally a delight.
The author cites his influences from among the greats like H.G. Wells, as well as from the unexpected like William Bernbach, an American Advertising Creative Director.
The Carol of the Reactors is the debut novel by Vishal Suchak; the first of the Earthling Trilogy, and it seeps into a lot of spaces that the reader would never guess. He even gets into Biblical retelling of tales and was unexpected at more than a few turns.
NB: This review has been written at the request of the writer.