After his brother, Callum, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and imprisoned on a distant mining planet, Ames leaves earth in search of him, despite official reports that Callum is now dead.
On his journey he befriends Violet, a lawyer who has grown tired of her abusive husband and the abuse of people perpetrated by the corrupt leader of the interplanetary government, Reynolds.
With parallels to our own time, Dust & Lightning is an exciting, fast paced science fiction noir novella.
This is my first foray into Crunden’s work, and I enjoyed it immensely. Ames and Violet are like a futuristic Hepburn and Tracy, taking each dark turn in their adventure with good humor. I loved the hole of conspiracy and experimental science they tumble down, and the future is described well.
Unfortunately, the science fiction elements are uneven. Despite being set 200 years in the future, when humanity has spread out across the galaxy and successfully terraformed numerous planets, there are still some decidedly twenty first century sounding technologies, including mobile phones, apps, and televisions. It is a shame, because the elements that are suitably advanced are interesting and well described, making the more old fashioned tech even more jarring.
There are no chapter breaks in this book, and, while it is a novella and a relatively short read, I would have preferred if some sort of visual scene breaks had been formatted into the content.
However, despite these issues, I had a great time reading Dust & Lightning. Ames’s journey in an interplanetary shuttle reminded me of a long bus or train ride, which I loved. The detail of how the air smelled on the new planet, and how it differed from Earth, was a nice touch. I also found it refreshing that Ames and Violet struck up a partnership and didn’t immediately jump into bed together.
I award Dust & Lightning…
Dust & Lightning is available for $6.07 ebook on Amazon.