Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Detainee by Peter Liney - Best Dystopian Novel I've Read! Second of Favorite Novels for 2014...

That's me on the right, with Mr. Meltoni sitting...
There's a scream inside us all we save for death. Once it's out,
once it's given to the world, there ain's no going back on it.
It's time to let go, to release your fragile grip on life. Otherwise
God's just going to wrench it from you.
If you've never heard that scream, I hope for your sake you never
will, I, on the other hand, must-ve heard it a thousand times.
I can hear it now. A woman somewhere over toward the rocks
is squealing like an animal that's just realized it exists to be
butchered, her cries issuing out of the fog like blood through
a bandage. Now some guy, probably her partner, had joined in.
Shouting at them, telling them to leave her alone, as if he has
some influence on the situation. But you know he hasn't.
Fear's slicing so hard at his voice it's cutting right through.
Soon she'll die, and so will he. And I can do nothing but lie
here in the dark, listening to my frightened heart pounding;
just as all around me, hundreds of others must be lying there,
listening to their frightened hearts pounding. It makes you
feel sick to do it. But we don't seem to have a choice.
When I was young and used to see homeless old people hanging around, I never dreamed I would end up being one myself one day. Why would I? I was healthy, strong, and once I started working for Mr. Meltoni, always had plenty of money. And there ain't nothing like a pocketful of dough and some bounce in your stride to make you think you're gonna live forever. In any case, everyone always assumed it was gonna get better, not worse. But it's those with a home who are the exception now. Those across the water, behind their fortified walls, in their private enclaves, who make all the rules and who decided that by sending us out here, by giving us this "last chance to become self-sufficient," they'd done everything for us they could. Which, in case you don't know, is how we ended up living on this dollop of crap; four miles long, three across, and a little over a mile offshore.

The Detainee

By Peter Liney

Starring "Big Guy" Clancy

Well, of course, I don't normally spotlight the main character of a novel, but as soon as I had read enough, I had pictured the guy above that normally plays a heavy in mob films. For some reason, I just could always see a softer side of this man--and that's how the author has created Clancy...I always was attracted to "Big Guys" so I fell for this character immediately...LOL 

But the main reason I'm going to make this a "must-read" recommendation is because it goes beyond the horror, gets right into issues right out of today's headlines and includes futuristic technological advances that are not only viable but could easily, in my opinion, be "created" in the future...Yikes! In fact, conceptually, I thought it was an outstanding, plausible...and "too scary" potential of the future--perhaps not for me, but certainly for some of you who may read the book! If you dare...
People were running this way and that, begging to be spared,
doing everything they could to get away. While--and I'd heard
but never believed it--others just stood calmly in front of them
like trees waiting to be felled. They even offered themselves:
kneeling down, placing their bodies in the arc of the machete,
the swish of the knife. They wanted to die. They wanted to be
put out of their misery. And I saw some obliged, and I saw
others just laughed at...know that the cruelest thing of all
was to let them live.

Given the many advances in Medical Science, it was inevitable... people were living to be older than ever before. There were now more older people than those who were still working and paying into the government for retirement programs...

Security and criminal activities had become so bad that there would never be the ability to provide sufficient staffing... Satellites were created to fly over the earth. Anytime a crime was happening, the guilty part was lasered...

The "throwaway rich" had increased so much that companies had no place to put the garbage they routinely created...

Many parents did not have money to care for their children or they were too self-involved to keep them. Drug abuse was rampant...

Garbage. Nothing but garbage. Acres and Acres, heaped up,
stretching and stinking into the distance like a flyblown
corpse dried and contorted by death. Most has been combed out
dragged and checked for anything of value, then just left to
rot. Year in, year out, till it subsides enough to be dumped on
again--and again, and again...
I want to be allowed to go free. To get off this foul and
  sickening pile of crap, fill my lungs with fresh air, my heart
with hope, and believe in people again.
But I might as well sit and howl for the moon. No one-s ever
got off the island. No one. They seen to that good and proper.
Once you're out here, the only way you leave is by dying. By
the wings of your spirit lifting you up and flying you out of
this godforsaken place.

When the infrastructure of a once prominent offshore island proved to be nonprofitable to replace, at the same time that a place for garbage grew, that island was chosen as a location for elders to have a second least that was what they were told... The people wound up going through the garbage, pulling on anything they 
could use to
provide some type of
cover, a little privacy. 

I don't rightly know how to explain to you about satellite policing. I guess its roots lie in the early part of this century, when so many cities decided to install surveillance cameras. Gradually, as they cut crime in the immediate area, more and more appeared, but criminals just reacted by going farther out. Into the leafier suburbs, the country, the very places that up until then had been more or less free of such things--places where the rich tended to have their rural retreats. A lot of pressure was brought to bear and, finally, some smartass came up with an idea that everyone thought would put an end to crime forever; surveillance drone satellies. Hundreds of them. Low-orbit coordinated navigation, stretching from one side of the country to the other...
Whenever one of those things sees a crime--zap!--it takes you out. Not only that, but in the split second before it hits you, it assesses the seriousness of the offense and delivers the appropriate punishment...

The only one on the island who had a home was DeGrew, who had some type of arrangement with someone of the mainland. All knew that he was evil incarnate...and his Wastelords were almost as bad.  They were also the druglords for the thousands of

children who worked and lived in the garbage piles...

Then whatever was left, the older people tried to find, to live         with, to survive...

Those who were evil, always find way to make things even worse, whenever possible. Most of the children were given drugs and taught to hate the older people who had caused all the problems the world had. They would get them riled up on drugs on certain nights... When it was foggy, the satellites could not see anything that happened... The Wastelords gave them machetes and send them... to the village where they would be told to eliminate anybody they could... They always dressed for the occasion as if they were scary monsters at halloween...

But one day the Big Guy got in trouble himself and when he woke up, he was in a place he'd never seen before, being nursed by a young woman... That's when things started to change on the island...

Sure, there are parts of the novel that are just like "slasher" movies. But that's a small part of the story that Peter Liney presents to readers. Many have become disgruntled, angry, and with little hope that things will ever improve in America. Environmental, Criminal, and Financial issues affect everybody so that we lose hope of ever seeing it become better. This novel takes us to the farthest reach of our imagination! And yet, affected individuals, beaten down, living in squalor, strive to live. They look for and find that there is still those who can love, and those with integrity, who are honest and just waiting... 

Our lead character had once worked for a mob leader, but even the mob took care of their own and dealt out punishment only when needed. Now, evil men were leaders who had no concern for anything or anybody. A man, once a heavy for a mob leader, now finds himself being looked upon for leadership, for help, for love. Things that he had never done or had in his life.  He was only 63 but had felt he was so old that he could never again experience any part of his former life.

It's strange to claim that a dystopian story can be inspiration...but this one was for me. If each of us who are concerned decided to act to help in some way...would we be able to improve things? Not very long ago I reviewed a book about a man in Africa who has children fighting his war as "Christian soldiers." This could be just the beginning of what happens in this book... Will fact follow fiction for our future? Let us hope and pray that it doesn't...and then talk about how to make sure it doesn't! 

Kudos to Peter Liney for showing us hope arising out of despair!


Peter Liney was born in Wiltshire but has spent a large part of his life overseas indulging in such diverse occupations as sewing-machine salesman, actor/model and stuntman—to name but a few. He has written sitcoms for ABC and Channel 4, and drama for the BBC and South African radio. The Detainee is his debut novel. He lives in London.

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