Welcome to another great book discovery, courtesy of the wonderful people at Storytellers on Tour. They’re the great orchestrators behind my immense tbr and with which tour the mountain grows. Definitely not complaining about it. If you’re ever in need for a great rec, check out the good folks touring with SOT and you’ll never be without.
Today I’m featuring Transference by B.T. Keaton. This fantastic sci-fi dystopia takes takes its title from one of the most exciting elements of the book: the possibility of body transfer, of living life again and again. This is a concept that has always fascinated me, catering to my speculative fiction/tech buff mind.
Check out the excerpt at the end of the post and I dare you to not pick up this book after that sneak peak. Don’t forget to check out all the other reviewers on the tour, for they’re bound to only entice you further!
Rebellion. Revenge. Revelation.
Barrabas Madzimure is banished to the desert planet Eridania for his many crimes. Slaves to the Church and to the will of its prophet Jovian, a charismatic figurehead who rules everything on Earth, Madzimure and his cohorts toil underground digging endlessly for the substance eridanium—the source of Jovian’s alien power.
But Madzimure can no longer hide from his past. Facing execution, he claims to have once been Thaniel Kilraven, transferred decades earlier into the body of Madzimure against his will. Under interrogation the stories of both men are brought to light, and the terrible fate of the lost Kilraven bloodline is revealed.
Madzimure escapes, knowing the only way to salvage what’s left of the Kilraven name and confront his destiny—and Jovian—is by facing them head on. But the horrific truths he finds on Earth might be the undoing of all mankind. What if everything humanity believed about civilization was a lie? Will anything or anyone be left from the fallout?
CW: Cannibalism (one chapter), Violence
Brandon Keaton is a citizen of Aotearoa, and has called its beautiful capital city of Wellington home for over ten years. Some of his career highlights include slaving joyfully in big-box retail, making coffee for advertising execs, and duty-managing a craft beer brewery. He is also passionate about animals and has an undying affinity for gummy bears. Brandon is a member of The Science Fiction & Fantasy Association of New Zealand and The Libertarian Futurist Society. He is currently penning the sequel to TRANSFERENCE, his debut indie novel.
I’VE TRIED TO die so many times that I’m not even afraid of it anymore. The trick is not to be afraid. It doesn’t even hurt. Not like people think that it would. Coming back, though… Coming back is the scary part.
In my fourth body, I didn’t eat a single thing for over three weeks. When the transference technicians dragged me from my room, I overheard one of those damned doctors say, “Elisabeth, you’ve lost nearly thirty pounds.” That made me smile like I’d not smiled in years, even though I couldn’t walk any longer and my physical strength was nearly spent. But just when I thought it was over, what did they go and do? The devils transferred me into a fresh set of skin and began feeding me intravenously.
I don’t even know why I was shocked. These men control everything… when I bathe, when I sleep, and even how I go to the bathroom. There is no longer anything left to me in this world that is truly my own, except for my wedding band. If the men in power know about the ring, they have afforded me it for reasons that I can’t foresee… but none of them for pity, I can tell you that. These same men who also rule the nations took my husband from me decades ago, only I can never be sure how many years it’s actually been. Ever so much more than twenty, if my last count was remotely right.
But I am not alone.
Like so many other dear souls in this tower, I’ve been imprisoned here against my will. This place of supposed peace, they say, wherein only by making a payment of your very spirit are you finally rewarded with absolution. Every last one of us within these barren rooms has forgotten the sound of leaves among the swaying trees, the falling of spring waters, and the laughter of children. And though I could just say a few simple words and it would all be over, in my heart I know the forgiveness that comes from these holy men breeds only damnation.
Death is the only way out. And if death were to come to me, or to any of us, it would be the greatest of mercies. I suffer all in silence, as I’ve become accustomed to hiding any emotion and the fighting back of tears. I simply have to, or these men will find some level of mastery over me.
This morning, before I woke and the technicians came to remove me from my bed, I had the dream again. It’s always the same one—the walls of my personal hell explode around me—and when the smoke clears, I see my love having returned beyond all odds to save me. Together we leap from the windows of this tower of terror and fly away, riding on the wind like great birds over the city. But the moment is short-lived, and in the instant when our eyes meet, I always know that the dream isn’t real. After I wake, my heart breaks for what must be the ten-thousandth time.
It was then in my bed that I rolled onto my back and stared up at the ceiling for what felt like hours. And nothing about this morning seemed out of the ordinary—that is, until the sun rose. The red glow coming from a high window, which I can never look out from, drew attention to something strange around the steel grating twenty feet above my head. The air flowing out of it took shape, looking almost wavy, like an intense summer heat rising up from barren asphalt. That’s when I smelled it—the reagent. They call it narkos. They’ve never actually pumped gas through the ventilation system prior to today.
Shivering, I quickly removed my wedding ring, then placed it in the hollowed-out leather-bound copy of The Prophet’s Tome at my bedside. Before I blacked out my heart told me that there is but one hope left now. All pathways before my feet are dark, save for one. This path I have not spoken about with anyone except the god in my head, and those other select few who are now living only there. I tell them that if I trusted a savior might come and split asunder the atmosphere in my lifetime, I would rest in that sweet promise.
But I cannot wait on a god any longer.