An absorbing piece of verse fiction about determination, courage, resistance, and hope…
Told in verse, Crittenden’s debut space opera explores the many transitions of life: from rootless to new homes, from failure to success, from hope to despair and back again as the protagonist travels through the universe looking for a new home after the environmental calamities leave Earth inhabitable. The Inhabitant has been unexpectedly expelled from Earth after years of misusing it. Their only hope is to travel across the universe and find a new home. But the planets they fly past during their journey are either unsustainable or uninviting. Constantly on the move in their spaceship, the inhabitant must rely on their experience to find their new home while trying to deal with the heartache of the past trauma and fear of the future. Crittenden combines elements of hard SF, dystopian, and environmental fiction against a devastatingly bleak backdrop, and his evocative worldbuilding is created with precision and vivid details. The descriptions of the destruction brought out on the earth by environmental calamities, though remain in the background but are affecting nonetheless: the lonely, desolate Earth as an almost destroyed planet remains a concept, with the protagonist never setting foot there, but it comes fully alive in readers’ minds nonetheless. The space, with its vast galaxies, hums with frostiness, evoking a sense of grim desolation. Crittenden has a knack for character, and readers will easily immerse themselves in the lonely protagonist’s shuffling world. Under his expert depiction, the inhabitant comes alive, revealing their inner turmoil, insecurities, apprehensions, hopes, and desires. He enhances the protagonist’s aimless wanderings with moments of deep poignant introspections, creating a story filled with a rich understanding of humanity’s darkness and light. Themes of climate change, environmental crisis, exploration, adventure, hope, dreams, longing, loneliness, fear, heartbreak, heartache, perseverance, and determination are strong throughout. Along the way, Crittenden delves into questions of what it means to search for that which we want in life and what makes a person move on even when there’s nothing to look forward to. There is not much plot, but the protagonist’s relatable search for meaning in life and intriguingly timely storyline delivers on most levels. An ode to humanity’s resilience in the face of extreme circumstances, this SF tales dives into gloomy, painful caverns and emerges in bouquets of beguiling hope.
By Charles Crittenden
Pub date December 31, 2021
Price $16.99 (USD) Paperback, $7.91 Kindle edition