A speculative fiction police procedural with a unique and interesting premise.
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Premise (from Goodreads)
Earth’s sixth mass extinction has ended, and in its wake a post-dystopian civilization has struggled to rebuild after a global cataclysm shattered its ecosystems and propelled all life to the brink of eradication.
In a world where the air is unhealthy, food is strictly rationed, and the energy consumption that triggered the destruction is highly regimented, scientists experiment with artificial biospheres to secure survival and techno-mimicry to breathe life into long-dead species. It’s an unavoidable surveillance state where every living thing is tracked, numbered, and categorized.
In this fledgling society born out of catastrophic loss and now challenged with a new reverence for all life, a lone detective is haunted by a series of murders traumatizing the populace. Assisted by a medical colleague, she finds herself entangled in a crisis with far-reaching consequences and dangerous repercussions that threaten the fragile balance of all existence.
What is the impact on humanity when mankind is required to play god to the creatures they have all but destroyed?
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Review (No Spoilers)
First off, big thank you to Grey Matter Press for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! I was particularly excited to make a connection to a publisher that operates in the same city as me. I can’t wait to see what other stories they are producing.
The surrounding premise of Resembling Lepus is an extremely interesting one. Taking place in a world very similar to ours, there are a few stark differences. After almost single-handedly killing off all of the world’s natural resources, society has undergone a huge paradigm shift in which non-human animals are now respected just as much as humans. On top of that, as a form of recreating the nature that they lost, humans have also invented a way to make imitation beings (both human and animal) that can be recycled when needed.
The novella is formatted like a police procedural, following a detective as she attempts to find a serial murderer who has been strangling rabbits and leaving them with a ribbon around their necks. Unfortunately, unlike many police procedurals and mystery novels that I’ve read, I didn’t feel like the reader was ever really involved in attempting to solve the case. Due to the short nature of the story, I didn’t feel like I had the information needed to come to a proper conclusion until right before the detective made her deductions.
Speculative fiction is a genre that I find particularly fun to read because they never seem as far-fetched as some of the science fiction novels that I’ve read in the past. There are no space battles or time travel, just a society much like ours that has made the same mistakes we are currently making right now. I find the exploration of where society is heading to be both intellectually stimulating and potentially groundbreaking. As as a result, a part of me feels like this novella would have worked better as a full-length novel. Giving the story 100+ more pages to unfold would have helped solve the issue of the mystery being solved too quickly, while also giving readers a fuller picture of the surrounding world’s circumstances. I ended the book wanting to know more. How many species did we successfully kill off and how many did we successfully save? What is the quality of vegetation and the atmosphere? What other scientific advancements have we made as a whole? All in all, Resembling Lepus was a quick and enjoyable read. I’d love to see what other ideas this author has nurtured and published in her other works.
Resembling Lepus was just release this week and is currently $0.99 on Kindle! You can check it out at the link above!
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