Books & Literature

Book Review: Deficiency, by SC Eston

SCI-FI: On the arid planet of Garadia floats Prominence City, an oasis of abundance and technological marvels where all is not as it seems.

Eston’s style continues to develop with each work.

Steve ‘S.C.’ Eston is a self-publishing Canadian author. His previous works, The Burden of the Protector and The Conclave, were both fantasy-focused novellas. With Deficiency, Eston releases his first fully-fledged novel and second foray into the science fiction genre.

The novel is set in the skyline city of Prominence and opens with a character list (and their associations) plus a simple, but essential, map. The first stage of the novel, less than two pages in length, sets a dire scene and implies a biological imperative for perfection.

We are initially introduced to Artenz Scherzel, a man in his late-30s, who is considering the possibility of a natural birth with his partner, Keidi – along with the percentage chances of a successful outcome. As the first chapters progress, we discover that, like the hints of the opening pages, things are not exactly as they seem.

Artenz’s sister, Detel, appears to have been unlinked from the city’s system and, in time, is proven to be not only unlinked but completely removed from the City. As Artenz and Keiti continue to look for his missing sister, the behaviours of colleagues and Management begin to take a hostile and threatening turn.

Soon after this drastic turn of events we are introduced to the members of The Authentic Banner, a group who are aware of the treachery that lurks in the corporate confines of Prominence City. As the investigation into Detel’s disappearance deepens and darkens, mysterious forces (from differing angles) reveal themselves and Artenz and Keiti are forced to explore the possibility of a life beyond and below this elevated space – the Lowlands.

Alongside the core story, there are the extensions and interwoven characters, including Artez’s Supervisor, Drayfus Arlsberg, who begins to question his allegiances; Marti ‘Red Dragon; Zehron, a man driven to prove that all is not what it seems, especially in defence of friendship; and, Styl, a transporter and enforcer.

As is the nature of science fiction, Deficiency questions the drives and desires of corporations, the constant striving for perfection in an imperfect world, and the desire of some to embrace (or expose) imperfection as a positive.

Eston’s style continues to develop with each work. This one however, comes with a welcome bonus – completion.

Eston’s website indicates that he is presently working on two further works, including a prequel to The Burden of the Protector. I look forward to a continued personal enjoyment and professional engagement with his literature.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Distributed by: Amazon Australia
Released: December 2020
RRP: $5.59 eBook, $32.03 paperback

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