A hard-edged and brilliantly imaginative science fiction tale…
Latoria examines courage, survival, and individual struggles in this deeply complex, intriguing SF series kicker featuring the gutsy Colonel Blackshade. It is 2072. America and Canada have merged together to form a new nation called Candaerica, which has taken over Mexico. Other countries in the world have their own chosen allies and live independently. The merged new nation is thriving. But all hell breaks loose after extraterrestrial ships carrying powerful Omega land in New Mexico. Colonel William Herbert Blackshade of the Candaerican Army Air Corp finds himself taking charge of the situation and starts negotiations with the enemy. The dialogue takes a new turn after Omegas reveal some terrible secrets about earth’s future. It’s up to Blackshade now to convince his government to make deal with the aliens and save humanity. Latoria fashions a narrative in which the action takes place center stage. Readers will respond to the sympathy with which he reflects the tormenting lives of people struggling to survive in a world enveloped in chaos and ready to collapse. The narrative veers between hard SF, politico-social fears, alongside themes of oppression, freedom, supremacy, power games, courage, duty, responsibility, sacrifice, and individual needs versus the needs of the society. The futuristic world that Latoria creates is immensely bleak: it’s a world where a technological invention that has the capacity to kill anything living that comes in its contact is used to control the more aggressive countries of the world; a cold war is simmering in the world, with various countries shutting their borders to each other; bullying is illegal in Candaerica, including mental, physical, and psychological harassment; minor crimes carry harsh sentence, with a secretive system of ruthless extraction of criminals in place. There is also emphasis on the wonders of advanced science, space exploration, and technological developments. Latoria endows his characters, including the non-humans with distinct personalities and considerable depth, and his wild imagination gives their individual stories a distinct flavor. The characters, particularly Blackshade, Zahera, come alive in readers’ minds as they strategize their way out of one precarious situation after another while struggling with their inner demons. Despite the complexity of the plot, which consists of several subplots, Latoria successfully tackles multiple scenarios, making it a tightly packed survival tale. The cliffhanger twist in the last part of the book is adroitly done and leaves the reader waiting eagerly for the next one in the series. An intriguing and satisfying tale that is bound to capture readers’ imaginations.
The Blackshade Machine
(Book 1: Original Design)
William D. Latoria
Pub date April 28, 2019
Price $17.99 (USD) Price, $12.99 Paperback, $0.00 Kindle edition