Wednesday 29 April 2020


If you like suspenseful sci-fi which explores the faults of technology, then you won’t want to miss the fourth book in the Black Band Anthology series.

Title: Sentient Judgement
Author: Channing Whitaker
Genre: General Fiction, SciFi & Fantasy
Publisher: Books Go Social
Release Date: 28th April 2020

BLURB from Goodreads
In a world where automation runs society, Marion Sato spends her days as a judgment aid, tasked with making the manual choices deemed too difficult or complicated for computer algorithms. It seems like a dream come true – until things go horribly wrong.
When a freak accident leaves a young child in mortal danger, Marion knows she has to act fast to save his life. But the automated world surrounding her seems to stand in her way at every turn. 
As time begins to run out and the weaknesses of a tech-reliant civilization become clear, will Marion be able to overcome the endless hurdles of a rigid autonomous society? Or will technology fail her as a child’s life hangs in the balance…


Having read and really enjoying another title by this author, I do my best to keep an eye out for new titles being released. As soon as I saw the cover I was intrigued as to who the woman was. If I saw this cover in a book store I would certainly pick it up from a shelf to learn more about it. Upon reading the blurb I knew I really wanted to read it as I find the futuristic, dystopian genre fascinating.

There is a smartly dressed mysterious man, Carson, he is in a nostalgic mood, having taken his shoes off so he can feel the grass on his feet and between his toes. Carson is sitting on a bench looking around pondering how things have changed around him whilst enjoying time watching his son playing in a nearby sandpit. Unfortunately, something goes wrong with a nearby robotic lawnmower and a stone ends up hitting Carson knocking him on conscious.

In the meantime, Marion is getting out of bed and getting ready to begin working from home, like she does each day. Marion literally gets out of bed and presses a few buttons which triggers the bed to move and fold up into the wall. Then the kitchen module unfolds itself so Marion can make her breakfast. Marion is soon sat in front in front of her screen ready for work. Marion works for the Sentient Judgement Service, which really simply means she makes decisions for the automated robotic features that are now all over the world in everyday life. Marion literally “problem solves” and is the “common sense” that a machine can never replace. It is a refuse truck that asks Marion to make some judgements and she sees a baby in one of the refuse boxes.

That is the basis of this short story/novella. I found this book a bit of a slow burner, however I really wanted to know where the story was going so stuck with it and when the pace picked up, I did enjoy it more. It ended up being a rather thought-provoking book. There is the question of whether this society is better now a lot of it is automatic and computer led. Which on the face of it sounds like a good idea. The high specification apartments where your kitchen or bedroom can be stored away seem amazing and space saving which has to be a good thing, doesn’t it? Then you have Marion having to deal with a computer that doesn’t understand her request, so much so she has to physically go check on the problem incident she sees.
This book leaves you with so many questions, is it something as natural as a birthmark Marion notices when she changes Carson’s son’s nappy, but if that’s the case why does it look so similar to the logo for Carson’s business empire? Also why is it so important to Carson for Marion to sign a secrecy document? I know what I think but would be interested if it’s the same as the Author intended the reader to think. I would also be interested in knowing what other readers think too. It’s a shame this is a short book as I would have loved to explore the world and society living within it much more.

Summing up, definitely recommend reading this one! I also recommend another of Channing’s short stories which I read and loved called Existence Augmented.


Title: The Remnant
Author: Channing Whitaker
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror
Release Date: 21st May 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
In this suspense-filled, neo-monster, horror novelette, a writer named Gene Winfield discovers an ominous, handwritten book among the belongings of his late, adventurer aunt. As Gene reads, he becomes captivated with the volume’s account of a savage, unearthly creature. In spite of the book’s warning, with his writing career failing, Gene can’t resist the inspiration. Near the roaring fire in his aunt’s otherwise cold, empty manor, Gene begins a story of his own, but will he unleash more than his imagination…


Title: Existence Augmented

Author: Channing Whitaker
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia
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…



Title: The Peddler

Author: Channing Whitaker
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Release Date: 22nd October 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
When Andrew bought a carved figure from The Peddler, he thought he was doing the old man a favor. When three violent criminals came to give his shop a shakedown, he realized it was the other way around. In this fantasy, horror novelette, a luscious, green park stands as a beacon of thriving life in the midst of a fledgling city where criminals run rampant. The police are either helpless, ignorant, or criminals themselves.


No comments:

Post a Comment