Imagine a future where technology and knowledge has been lost, reading and writing is forbidden, and slavery has become common. That is the world of Erefor in Walter Rhein’s novel, The Reader of Acheron.
Rhein paints a grim world of physical and mental oppression through the eyes of the two main protagonists: Kikkan, an escaped slave; and Quillion, a freelance mercenary who has secretly taught himself to read. They soon find themselves caught in between a political struggle between those who wish to bring knowledge and enlightenment back into the world and to end slavery, and those who seek to keep such knowledge in the hands of an elite few. Rhein brings multiple dimensions and depth to all the important characters and even to a few not-so-important ones, and he has dialogue mastered so well that most times speaker attributions aren’t even required to know who is saying what.
While a couple subplots are left open for later books in the series, the main plot of this book, and its twists, are wrapped up neatly. It was an enjoyable read from start to finish, and I didn’t want to put it down…nor wait for the sequel.
Best to read while listening to: The soundtrack to Braveheart with a dash of the Resident Evil soundtrack.
I’ve been a fan of dystopias since the first time I read 1984. No, actually, since the first time I watched films like Blade Runner and the Running Man. The idea of a “perfect” utopia that is in reality a disguised totalitarian state has been around for…well, a long time.
Perfect Flaw delivers seventeen dystopian horrors for your enjoyment. While there were a couple stories that just didn’t fit my taste, some like “Hope Unknown,” “The Job Hunter,” and “Smilers,” were some of the most interesting and entertaining stories I’ve read from this subgenre in a while. Most of the stories were of the Science Fiction genre with some near-future-ish horror. I would’ve liked to have seen some Fantasy-based dystopias as well, but since the subgenre gears (pun intended) more toward SF anyhow, I’m not surprised by the lack thereof.
In sum, Perfect Flaw is a great read with plenty enough variety to entertain the avid reader. Robin Blankenship did a great job for it being her first editing gig, and authors like Deedee Davies and H. David Blalock are on the road to becoming names to remember. If nothing else, Perfect Flaw proves you don’t have to be a big press to put out a quality anthology.
Best to read while listening to: soundtracks to Blade Runner, 1984, and A Brave New World.
How did the idea for Perfect Flaw come about?
The way Perfect Flaw came around was kind of a fluke. I have always been a huge reader. I always have a book with me. People have often commented on how fast I read and how many books I get through. I was so lucky to meet so many book people and authors when I started reviewing books. I found that authors really appreciated how fast I could read and how honest I was in my reviewing. A few years ago, my husband had a stroke and that made me reassess everything. I came to realize that life is short and you should be doing what you love and want to do. I sat down one day and thought and thought and decided to be honest with myself. I love books, I love reading, and I love it all. My husband is a writer, I am his main beta reader, and editor and I loved that too. I wanted to do more of that. I had a wonderful author friend that encouraged me to give it a shot so last year I sent a publisher a pitch to edit a dystopian anthology. As far as why dystopian, it has always been one of my favorite genres. I love Science Fiction and Fantasy but Dystopian is a genre that I could read all time. Ever since I read Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, I have been hooked. As I was trying to think of a topic to pitch I was actually reading “The Hunger Games” and that lead me to want to do Perfect Flaw. I got to thinking, what do others see as dystopian? Given just the prompt of society gone wrong, a society that looks perfect to an outsider but has that one perfect flaw that make it a repressive state. What would a group of writers do with that? Stroke of luck a publisher was going to let me take a crack at it.
What were the primary things you were looking for when selecting stories for the anthology?
The beauty of being the one making the selection is you get to pick the ones that grab you. What I look for is primary is a story that is interesting story that not only I like but I think others would like as well.
Got any editing horror stories to share this time around?
There were a few submissions I received that needed quite a bit of editing but the worst was I was reading a really great story that I was enjoying and all of sudden the paragraph stopped, I guess the author had forgotten to go back and finish that part. But as far as true horror stories I was lucky and did not have any this time.
How has Perfect Flaw differed from other projects? In what ways was it similar to them?
Perfect Flaw was actually my first project. I have pitched another idea to the publisher so maybe next time I will have more to report. J
I often ask writers how music works for them, whether as inspiration or a means to set them in the proper “mood.” Is there a role for music when it comes to editing, or is complete silence best?
Music is as important to me as books. I usually pop in my ear buds and blast music while editing. Cut the world and its various noises out for a while. And depending on my mood the music changes. For Perfect Flaw I listened to a lot of metal.
Where can people find Perfect Flaw?
Amazon softcover – http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Flaw-Robin-Blankenship/dp/1937929116
Amazon Kindle US – http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Flaw-ebook/dp/B00BWTKXZK
Amazon Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Perfect-Flaw-ebook/dp/B00BWTKXZK
Is there a website where readers can learn about your other editing projects?
Right now I am posting everything on the Perfect Flaw page. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perfect-Flaw/281220348658422?ref=hl
Any future plans regarding other anthologies, etc.?
I have tons of ideas for future anthologies. And I have even pitched a few so hopefully soon I will have more to announce.
Robin Blankenship, a freelance editor and book reviewer has a background in teaching and social work. When not working or reading or editing she can be found at home in Kentucky with her husband, Andrew and two children, Christian and Beatrix.
Amazon Links for Perfect Flaw
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