A sentimental but honest SF tale…
Saul Brutus, a fossil fuel lobbyist, and Speaksall, his partner in the futuristic Greco-Roman world, take readers on an exhilarating journey in Missaiel’s assured and eloquent debut, which mixes history, time travel, and quantum physics into a moving narrative. The renowned fossil fuel lobbyist Saul Brutus stumbles into an alternate world with a different history than our own while attending an exhibition and replaces a futuristic human. While accompanying Speaksall on his mission to secure voting for the Liberican Federation’s new environmental initiative as its delegate, Saul happens upon Gibbon’s 1776 history scrolls titled The History of Fall and Revival of the Roman Empire in the ancient library of Alexandria and comes to realize the mistakes of his predecessors and the consequences of his own choices. Determined to make most of his newly acquired knowledge, Saul must return to his own world and get ready to bring a change. The futuristic world Missaiel creates is immensely appealing; the humanity has established cities and colonies under the ocean; the ancient library of Alexandria that never got destroyed is serving as an international intellectual hub (thus avoiding the beginning of a tragic long history of abuse of religion to attack science); the government works for the greater good of the masses; the politicians and government officials are not considered an elevated class. There is also emphasis on the wonders of technology, described in vivid imagery and precise detail. The narrative acquires depth and intrigue when Missaiel integrates the story of dystopian earth with its grim future: civil wars are in full swing, people fight for their own survival, food is scarce, and the survival of humanity is in jeopardy. Readers will respond to the sympathy with which Missaiel reflects the harrowing lives of people struggling on the hard edge of poverty in a world enveloped in chaos and ready to collapse. Missaiel’s intelligent consideration of the heated issue of environmental preservation brims with insight and empathy. Though Saul’s intriguing time-travel journey gets a little lost among the nitty gritty of political and environmental jargon, the plot still holds interest and makes this book an enjoyable, fast-paced read. With Saul’s resolve in the face of looming calamity in the end, this science fiction tale becomes a clarion call about climate change, too forthright and vivid for even cynics to ignore. This is an eye-opener.
The Alternative History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
By M.D. Missaiel
Ill at Ease Press
Pub date July 1, 2020
Price $16.99 (USD) Paperback, $5.99 Kindle edition
Categories: Science Fiction