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Thursday, February 20, 2020

My Thoughts On. . .

(Nebula Finalist)

Marque of Caine
Set two years after Caine Riordan was relieved of his command – for doing the right thing – our longsuffering protagonist finally receives the message he’s been waiting for: a summons to visit the Dornaani on their home world.
It seems Caine’s hopes of discovering the current location and welfare of his long-lost love, Elena Corcoran, (mother to his seventeen year old son, Connor), has taken a positive step forward at last.
However, there’s no silver lining to the clouds waiting on the horizon. As Caine discovers, time may have passed, but his principles and loyalty ensure he remains a political radioactive hot potato. Bureaucratically instigated obstacles ensure he remains stymied by a frustrating conveyor belt of one step forward, and two steps back red tape. It’s not until Caine takes matters into his own hands that he makes progress . . . if being impeded at every turn and led down countless dead ends can be construed as progress.
And why might this be the case?
The Dornaani culture is crumbling. They may come from a super-sophisticated civilization where technology is so advanced that it makes what human’s possess seem like a primitive sticks & stones society, but they’ve lost the will to create anything new. A malady that has grown steadily more insidious with each passing century. Instead of reaching out to explore and extend their understanding of the universe, the Dornaani are now more content to evade the pressures of real life and immerse themselves within VR sims where their every whim is catered to. Yes, their existence is slowly festering from within.
The thing is, both the planting of the seeds and subsequent cultivation of this spreading rot appears deliberate. Does that mean stagnation is a prelude to something more sinister? And how does that tie in to Caine and Elena?
We find out, in an epically complex tale, where plots within plots weave a textured web of prejudice, racial avarice and duplicity. Little wonder, then, that Caine ends up despairing. Will he ever actually make it home?

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