Have you ever tried to quit smoking? Gone on a fad diet and cut out sugar or soda? Unsuccessfully tried to put away the leftover Halloween candy without having one more piece? Billy Stringer is a former jock and current sports reporter whose girlfriend’s brother starts him on a dangerous habit and soon he lives his life for the next fix. As he puts it, reading has opened up new worlds for him, and they are all more real than the one he inhabits.
The problem is, literature is illegal. You won’t get your hand slapped or have to pay a fine if you get caught. Those who are ‘Lit’ are being detained and executed.
In this future society “literature” has been reduced to something practical, something used in transit. The idea of literature as something that is used to transport people from place to place is symbolic and compelling in its own right, but the story doesn’t get weighed down by extensive exploration of the tech, although we start with our protagonist touring Gripping Tails, who are about to launch a new transit line.
When Billy is discovered to be ‘Lit’ his life is turned upside down. He finds himself fearing for the safety of his girlfriend and family. With counter terrorism prying into his life and a thug on his heels he tries to salvage his contribution to true literature and ensure the safety of those he loves.
This is a dystopian thriller about the power of words and the worlds they can create. While a company has found a way to reduce formulaic text into a power source, the laws have evolved to ensure that anyone who harbors old literature or creates new material is put down. Non-conformity is a risk, and asking questions may cost you your life, as Billy Stringer learns. The story moves at a blistering pace and provides many surprising twists along the way, as well as some delicious prose of its own. Captivating and timely, with a perfect bittersweet ending.