Travel Documents 07: DarkSide Seattle: Street Doc

Street Doc

L. E. French 
Genre: Dystopian, bio-punk. Novella

 Link To Buy

The Dust Cover Copy

On the run for a crime he committed, Hideo has only the shirt on his back and memories of a beautiful wife, a great job, and an exclusive view from his bedroom. The once-respected surgeon has to learn to live on the streets of Darkside Seattle, a place no one sane wants
to go and no one stuck there can leave.

His skills can keep others alive, but he’s never dodged bullets before.

The future looks grim.

 

The Deets

The Scene

Worldbuilding

In a Seattle you can most definitely see happening, those who fall from grace go all the way down.

The book begins in a beautifully cyber-noir hellhole: a bar where the booze is cheap, the sex-robot hasn’t been cleaned and the smoke lingers in the air. We’re introduced to our…yeah he’s not our hero. He’s a sorry-for-himself schmuck, and he screwed up. Big time.
Soon enough our protagonist is tangled with gangs, in danger of his life, and being forced to do illegal medical work in really insalubrious conditions. Nasty.
The world that’s created is gritty, raw and surprisingly plausible. Not too much time is wasted on details. The world never ended, it just changed. New tools are used by new predators to hunt new prey, for the same old reasons. Loyalty. Hate. Lust. Love. Arrogance. And, every once in a while, hope.

The Crowd

Characterization

The character growth is some of the best I’ve seen. Through plausible and relatable steps, you watch one character go from self-pitying, deluded ass to responsible, humble man. You watch another go from murderous, hopeless jail-bait to hopeful teen looking forward.

The excesses to which characters are driven are wholly believable given the world they live in.  The gambles they take are those that seem available given their limited experience. You can’t condone them, but you can empathize with them. And that’s what makes the story work.

The Moves

Plot

The story gives us plenty of character moments without once losing its heart-thumping tension. No matter what’s going on in Hideo’s own memories, he’s still got a gun pointed at his head-physically or metaphorically-and this keeps the energy of the story high. It isn’t the numbingly constant action a la Mad Max, but rather the nail biting tension in the vein of a good heist movie that keeps you turning these pages. I found the pacing perfect.

The Lingo

Writing style

The writing did what so many strive and fail to manage: it became a vehicle for the story so completely that I stopped noticing it. Short, sharp and elegant sentence structure, perfect grasp of conventions and no typos make this a top notch indie piece.

The Vibe

Overall Rating

A bittersweet noir treat. Read it. Oh, and there are two more novellas in the same universe, both as good. I recommend all three.