Title: Existence Augmented
Author: Channing Whitaker
Publisher: Off Speed Press
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic, Novella
Release Date: 28th May 2018
BLURB from Goodreads
Existence Augmented is a dystopian, sci-fi novelette and psychological thriller. The world outside is cold, hostile, and virtually lifeless. Human existence depends on sophisticated, technological living compounds. The people who don’t have them, once driven to theft and murder, are believed to be long since dead. Alden, a genius of physical and computer engineering, spends his time tending his hydroponics garden, maintaining and improving the complex systems critical to survival, and, in turn, continually refining the pleasant life he’s created with his wife, Laurel. On a day like any other, everything is following Alden’s plans until the power begins to fail…
I had finished reading a quite long, thought provoking book and felt I wanted to start a shorter read, and as this one is listed as a novella it was ideal.
The book is set in a sparse, snow laden post-apocalyptic world.
The main character is Alden, an older gentleman who has built himself an underground home made from cargo boxes.
It’s been a while since he has spotted anyone on his surveillance set up, so either the marauders have found a decent supply of what they need, they have moved on, or they have died.
We join Alden as he is walking down the pathway inspecting and tending plant after plant. He greets his plants with good morning or hello, then tells himself off for talking to his plants, saying people would call him crazy. Alden grows tomatoes and peppers , potatoes, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, and even wheat. Some of his plants were ready to harvest, others are at a more juvenile stage, but every variety you could need for a balanced human diet. There is one exception to the only edible plants, it’s right at the end of the rear wall. It’s a well tended single rosebush, that when it flowers it reveals the most beautiful violet blossoms.
These vegetables and the violet rosebush are what sustain Alden as everything above ground has been looted many, many times. So when his electric ventilation system falters Alden hurries back to his computer to check out what is happening. The computer Alden created himself is an intelligent computer system that he call’s Harmony. Harmony checks the ventilation system and answers Alden in a voice that is neither male nor female.
I can’t really go into more detail of the novella as it would reveal something that needs to be realised when you are reading the book. I enjoyed the in depth, descriptions within the book, they certainly helped you visualise the environment Alden was in.
When the end of the novella came my immediate reaction was that it had been a great novella and it's title is perfect. Though as time went on, I felt I wanted more, so I checked out the author on Goodreads to see if this novella was set in the same world of a series the author had written. Sadly, it isn’t, I really would love to read more.
To sum up I enjoyed the novella, it’s setting, characters etc. I would have just loved more of it. Perhaps more people living with Alden, or nearby for him to interact with. I will be checking out other titles by the author as I did enjoy his writing style a lot. I also adored the twist! The twist was. . . .well the twist was excellent!