Jason M. Hough’s pulse-pounding debut combines the drama, swagger, and vivid characters of Joss Whedon’s Firefly with the talent of sci-fi author John Scalzi.
In the mid-23rd century, Darwin, Australia, stands as the last human city on Earth. The world has succumbed to an alien plague, with most of the population transformed into mindless, savage creatures. The planet’s refugees flock to Darwin, where a space elevator—created by the architects of this apocalypse, the Builders—emits a plague-suppressing aura.
Skyler Luiken has a rare immunity to the plague. Backed by an international crew of fellow “immunes,” he leads missions into the dangerous wasteland beyond the aura’s edge to find the resources Darwin needs to stave off collapse. But when the Elevator starts to malfunction, Skyler is tapped—along with the brilliant scientist, Dr. Tania Sharma—to solve the mystery of the failing alien technology and save the ragged remnants of humanity.
The Darwin Elevator is hard boiled and action packed. Earth has become a dog eat dog world, except the world as we know it, or the one where we can live has narrowed down to a city on the coast of Australia. The only place on the face of the planet where it is safe to live. Protected by an aura given off by The Darwin Elevator, a cord that was shot to Earth from an alien space ship years earlier, those that live within the aura are protected from a deadly virus that has laid waste to the entire human population.
The virus kills most people within hours, those few that survive are stripped down to their base instincts and one emotion rules them, they are called SUBs or subhumans. It might not be the same emotion for them all, Anger, fear, humor, lust…but take one of those and amplify it to where its all you can feel and think…and nothing else. And you’ve got a problem.
Though this is science fiction the entire story takes place mostly on Earth or very nearly within it’s atmosphere. There are people that live on space stations, “Orbitals” and are connected to the elevator. They live up there in safety and comfort while the bulk of humanity suffers in poverty down below.
Centered around two characters, Skyler, the captain of a salvage crew made up of entirely immune members and Tania a brilliant scientist it also jumps around to the various perspectives of other characters. There is so much to be loved about these characters. Skyler is brave but hasn’t found his Captain’s legs yet. Tania is brilliant but so naive. There is conspiracy, subterfuge, comedy, sadness and an unsquashable determination to survive. My favorite parts of course being the comedy:
The Darwin Elevator
Currently there is a Goodreads giveaway of 50 copies going on. Ends August 20th!!