Sunday, July 22, 2018


(Blogger's note: the author of the below reviewed novel is one of my co-hosts on the Skiffy and Fanty Podcast's Reading Rangers show, so I'm not an entirely unbiased source for opinion on Wells' work. That being said, I naturally think you should read it anyway.)

If this book wore a collar, that collar's color would be primary blue. Imagine if Upton Sinclair had written science fiction set in a vaguely Firefly-esque universe (minus all the pseudo-confederate bullshytt) but was also hell-bent on his work passing the Bechdel Test AND gave vent to HST-ish love of motorcycle gangs. The result might be very like Hunger Makes the Wolf.

Yes, it's really that awesome.

At the heart of the novel is an intense and interesting female friendship between two very different young women, the pistol-packing motorcycle hooligan, Hob, and the whip-smart, pie-baking budding union organizer (with a dainty little gun in her skirt pocket just so people will stop lecturing her about needing one) Mag. Raised as sort of foster cousins but later divided by a round of errors and half-truths, the duo is just what their dusty, strange little wholly-owned corporate subsidiary of a planet needs to start sticking it to the Man.

But that's not all.

Did I mention they live on a strange planet? It's a strange planet. A treasure-trove of mineral wealth, it's also a place where electro-magnetic forces really just don't work right (forcing a reliance on analogue-ish technology like motorcycles) and where some people, if circumstances leave them struggling to survive all alone in the desert for a spell, are mutated into something the Company has very successfully persuaded its captive workforce are basically witches. As in hunt them down and string them up.

But the Company has its own rank of uncanny witch-like Weathermen, whose weird abilities can sort-of-tame the weirdness of this planet (enough to allow corporate headquarters to still enjoy things like computers and uninterrupted electricity and posh digs for its officers and hired thugs) but are also useful in keeping the "witches" in check, along with the rest of the populace who don't need a LOT of controlling because they depend on the Company for absolutely everything and also just never seem to be able to scrape together enough money to leave the planet for some unfathomable class-war-type reason.

Throw in a weird rock shaman, a bunch of lovable biker-thugs and a whole lot of unjustifiable attacks on "troublemakers" and you have a good old fashioned working stiffs vs. suits brawl, with a lot of cool sci fi and just a few fantasy touches.

The sequel, Blood Binds the Pack, is already out for our enjoyment, and I shall be diving in just as soon as the battery on my Kindle is recharged. Solidarity suggests that you do the same, if you've already read this book.

The union makes us strong.

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