Concepts of Creation, Representations and Vulnerable Populations: The Terraform of a Science Fiction Novel
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Prisoners in the Temple of Money is a science fiction novel with comedic elements, set against the socio-political backdrop of a world where humanity having fled a dead Earth to spread across the solar system, struggle to colonise further or feed and home the masses. The opening terrorist action has the main character, Jeff Lovell, a jailed experimental pilot with PTSD, released to save the day. After being returned to the brig, he goes AWOL from Milforce, the private military company in which his brother is a controlling force. The terrorist action is a catalyst for the government to seek tenders for a defence contract, involving an investigation into prison systems, notably Milford’s. The freedom of flying is juxtaposed against the confinement of prisoners. Both the gang (Vlads), responsible for the terrorism, and pilots, from Jeff’s unit are detained as part of a larger cover up. Escaping to his other brother’s classified planet, Jeff’s presence causes a pilot to arrive and the sleeper agent in the families’ midst to activate. The resulting tragedy forces the pilots to go to Mars. Here Jeff teams up with a child assassin (and bodyguard for the leader of the Vlads), teaching her empathy in exchange for safe passage. He must overcome his PTSD to save his family and fellow pilots. Using an omniscient narrative voice, there are times that the perspective changes to third person limited and in one instance, direct address to audience, where the reader is included as an integral observer without whom events are impossible in a nod to the interconnectedness of all things. The large and complex cast impact each other and the dynamics between organisations, individuals and groups reveal themes such as power and control, vulnerable populations, corruption, oppression and freedom, with implications for human rights and institutional abuse.