My first foray into scifi writing has been released today. FALL is a short story about… well, I’ll let this review of FALL by Mike Everest over at The Fantasy Hive win you over…
“John Wick meets Altered Carbon/Deus Ex Machina in this savagely surreal short-story from J.P. Ashman. Senfel, a soldier-type who survived ‘the fall’, leaving her with survivor’s guilt, PTSD and the type of scars that you can see, is desperate for work. Desperate to prove that she can still work. So desperate, in fact, that she is willing to take on any work that she can get.
But, in a dystopian world of cybernetically-enhanced (read: manufactured) humans versus ‘naturals’, a ‘Select Target’ isn’t just any old work.
For a short story, FALL covers a lot of ground, both in terms of characterisation and world building. Much of the narrative is told through third-person limited from Senfel’s perspective, as she sets out on a ‘Select Target’ mission. Senfel is a welcome change as a leading lady, taking on the role of the familiar ‘jerk-merc’ in that she’s, well…a bit of a jerk who is also a mercenary, but it’s neither her gender or her profession that defines her. Nor is it the mental traumas that she suffers. Senfel is defined by her own true grit and gut.
And talking of grit and guts, the world building is full of it – not to labour the comparisons, but there’s a whole host of ‘x meets y’ on hand. Beyond my first comparison in the opening line, I’d liken FALL to Sin City meets Repo-Men in the world of Halo ODST, with a healthy dose of Black Mirror. FALL raises a grimdark mirror up to the face of our current reality and the state of the world we will pass on to the future if we continue down a path of self-assured destruction. A world in which the poor and rich divide widens, a world in which technological developments become technological dependencies, and a world in which life is taken – not given.
The sci-fi short has all the hallmarks of great heroic fantasy; hurt, hardship and heart(ache), with a grimdark helping of ‘the heresy of heroism’ namely in that one person’s heroine is another’s hellspawn.
With FALL, J.P. Ashman proves once again (off the back of his previous short ‘Dragonship’, which I loved!) that he is a master of constructing complex and comprehensive characters, stories, and entire worlds, all within the space of a few pages.”
Mike Evans – The Fantasy Hive
FALL was a hard short to write, because of the content rather than the shift in genre. I’ve always been ‘into’ scifi, (almost) as much as fantasy, so writing scifi was always on the cards. The content tested me at a time when my little Norse Goddess Freya was hurting through treatment (nothing serious at the time, despite a previous serious illness, but it was bad enough watching her suffer). As her father, I felt helpless and a failure when she’d look to me and I could do little to take away her sickness, pain and discomfort. I guess that time (and previous time) inspired this, but from a darker angle, which also explores the flip side of certain ‘evils’ carried out by humans and what, to them, may excuse said ‘evils’, to a certain extent – for the greater good. See what you think. If you find parts of it difficult to read, I think you’re good people and that’s half the point; reading things should make you think and question, and appreciate who and what you have.
Anyhow, FALL is out, it’s short, action packed and a mere 99p/c, so hop over to Amazon (paperback coming soon) and snag it ASAP! Let me know what you think in the form of Amazon/Goodreads reviews, social media posts and/or replies on here. I’m intrigued what others will think of my first scifi story and the world and characters I’ve created.
If you’re hitting up the UK Amazon site, you may just help snag my first Best Seller with a #1 spot in one of FALL’s categories (FALL hit #28 whilst writing this)!