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PITY: Catgut Series

In the not too distant future, human beings live well beyond one-hundred years, but their fragile bones and skin need special care. Technology adapts, creating care facilities staffed by cybernetics, humanoid forms that mimic human carers. The demand for human qualities in the carers drives upgrade after upgrade, as the cybernetics strive to be more human; with inevitable consequences. PITY is the second novella in the CATGUT series, six suspense filled novellas with a twist in the tail, examining the future of medicine in an age where technology advances faster than our ability to understand its consequences.

Acoustic Elegance Review

freelancer | LAS VEGAS, NV

As the title suggests, the author uses six different human emotions to spins stories about characters in extreme circumstances. Either by their own actions or inaction, we join each of the protagonists in these stories right at the moment of their personal departures from normality. Characters from all walks of life are confronted by the realities of their shared digital destiny. Biological implants are standard operating procedure. Humans are expected to live well into their 100s. Food and water are incredibly valuable and scarce commodities. Cities have populations of over tens of millions of inhabitants, and therefore have to be meticulously managed and controlled, mostly by AI. 


Kirkus Independent Reviews

A subtle and meaningful collection about humankind under stress.

A clear concern for humanity, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian fiction, appears throughout all of Falconer’s stories.

Dystopian futures reveal the universality of primal human emotions in this SF story collection.

Each story in this anthology focuses on people grappling with the consequences of intense emotions. Highlights include “Terror,” in which a father and son living in a subterranean city win a lottery to join a group of citizens headed aboveground to prepare Earth for repopulation. According to their leaders, “the Terror,” defined as having “sharpened pointed” teeth and “catlike” eyes, live on the surface. As part of their pre-ascent orientation, the citizens view frightening images from the past. The leaders manipulate them through the use of special effects (“thunder rolled around the room, so that the very benches they sat on trembled”) so that they’ll uncritically accept the mission. In “Despair,” Skazi, a gambling addict and prisoner, awakens in corporate psychiatric facility Trans-Con, which rehabilitates mentally ill persons by shifting “the consciousness of patients…to primates and returning it back.” It turns out that participation in the program is mandatory, and noncompliance of any kind results in enslavement and exile to another planet for life. A clear concern for humanity, reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian fiction, appears throughout all of Falconer’s stories here; their characters start out as victims of their unique situations, as one might expect, but they’re also at the mercy of their own individual flaws, as well. As if to accent the theme of humanity, the stories all distinctively open with the protagonist encountering a specific smell, such as “garlic,” “perfumed floral air,” “roasting coffee beans, “freshly cut grass,” or “sweat, linen, plastic.” Moreover, they all struggle against greater societies where humanity—as a group and as a state of existence—has been diminished, giving the tales an unmistakable feeling of profundity.

A subtle and meaningful collection about humankind under stress.


Science Fiction

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