“I am so busy. I am practising
my new hobby of watching me
become someone else. There is
so much violence in reconstruction.
Every minute is grisly, but I have
to participate. I am building
what I cannot break.”― Jennifer Willoughby, Beautiful Zero: Poems
This poem is an apt description of a state of restless urgency and a need for essential reconstruction. But for whom? Who can it be subjected to? The answer is our planet, the Earth. We are getting closer to man induced exploitation, man led wars, man made technological disasters and peak resource exploitation. The end seems near. Can we choose to stay here or make another homeland from scratch? Is another homeland possible and it comes at what stake? For Duane Poncy, it is possible through the creation of Sweetland.
Sweetland is neither a paradise nor an astronomically discovered planet. It is a homeland under creation from scratch and it is possible through the process of quantum transfer and string theory. It is a creation of the Bolivarian state and New Life corporation to experience a totally different world, leaving the current world behind. But not everyone has been given the entry, the journey towards the Sweetland is tedious, full of investigation, orientation, confessions and sometimes death too.
It is around 2037. The world is slowly dying, destroyed and decaying. Wars are being fought, surveillance is a daily thing, privatisation is at its worst, the roads are filthy, the poor have either died or been harassed and technology is the only thing which is at its best. Joe Larivee is a social worker whose job is to help people and he knows he is failing at it. He is divorced and lives with his daughter, Jessie. The story has two worlds, in world and reality, the earth.
In world is basically a technological world connected through a Grid network and accessed or experienced through Citspeck, a device which runs through nanotech. Within it, there happens to be a homeland under construction, Sweetland. The story revolves around Joe, the father, emotionally in quest to save his daughter Jessie and his girlfriend, Bridge Whitedeer from the lesser known, Sweetland.
But that’s just the surface layer, underneath the chase for love, the story is weaved through essential side characters, corporations, state and their agencies, science and technology. Each of the side characters has their own story that deals with Sweetland and satisfies their own interests. While on their own path to discover Sweetland, each and every character reaches their own conclusions. Some die, many reach the new home, the state fights against its own citizens and the enemies, others choose to stay behind to see the end. This story is essentially about choices and interests which gets crystalised due to the author’s exceptional way of storytelling.
Duane Poncy’s unique way of storytelling stands on two pillars, story as a flow and simpler mixing of elements. Through his way of writing, it seems like he is trying to fix a puzzle and the reader is getting the hang of the game and is playing the same too. The puzzle seems like flow, easier to grasp. It’s an art in itself, the way Poncy weaves different characters, their interests into one central theme. The reader can sense what binds the story together but also what keeps the characters unique.
In the beginning, the story might leave the readers in utter confusion. The sudden burst of characters, their own stories, different corporations and state agencies and their interests towards Sweetland will leave the readers restless. But once the concept of Sweetland, its distinct technology is gradually established then it feels like a quest towards the holy grail. The story in the latter half, fastens its pace, gives the concept of Sweetland its real colour, flesh and blood. And in the end, the reader eagerly waits to see which character has made the choice of reconstruction and self destruction. More importantly, these extreme choices are woven intricately with an evident umbrella theme, centrality of visible confusion.
The story normalises the confusion and the chaos regarding the new technology and the new homeland. It is evident in each and every character, irrespective of whether they are powerful or meek, rich or poor. It seems that Duane is telling us directly, that even with creation of Sweetland, we are taking with us what makes us humans, i.e, the confusion and uncertainty.
Although it seems that the book essentially talks about the chaos of the current planet and the tension and curiosity in creating a new world, it has its second noticeable theme that stood apart personally speaking. And that is the matter of choice. The fact that the characters are given their own chances to select whether they want to stay on earth and fight or choose Sweetland is remarkable. The reader can feel the tension and complexities when it comes to taking these extreme choices.
Furthermore, the layered nature of Skyrmion becomes evident with that of the third feature, i.e man and their relation with technology. The generation gap is seemingly evident and within it the character development of Joe Larivee is dramatic and spectacular. How a middle aged social worker, detached from technology changes himself, embraces all the real world and in world challenges for the love of his daughter and also continues to hold onto faith.
This book is a beautiful blend of human emotions, their contradictions and the technological, cosmic and scientific world. Skyrmion thus can be poetically explained through one of Mary Oliver’s poetic stanzas, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Step into the captivating world of “Skyrmion: Book One of the Sweetland Quartet” on Amazon today! Buy”Skyrmion”now and experience the start of an epic saga!