This is the final review in a week-long review series featuring Kindle short stories from authors from reddit’s /r/selfpublish.
The longest of all the stories chosen, T. K.’s “Township 7: Life continues, even as society changes.” [sic] is an exploration of global climate change and transhumanism as depicted through a report penned by an anthropomorphic purple dinosaur. Yes, the main character is an anthropomorphic purple dinosaur named Rex. Since this could be a decisive factor for potential readers, I emphasize this upfront because—at this time of this review—the book’s description and other reviews don’t mention this.
Rex is one of many Critters, a new form of mankind appearing after great advances in cybernetics make their existence possible. They are humans transplanted into an exoskeleton that morphs to match their inner “second self.” This half of the plot is very reminiscent of furries and what that group might look like with the technology to make fursuits a real extension, or replacement, for a human body.
Besides the development of these suits and the shift of their users from mere suit wearers to a new race, Rex also describes the decline of the Earth and the development of space habitats, called townships. Through Rex, T. K. tracks centuries of development and change reminiscent of A Canticle for Leibowitz, but falls short of the latter’s successful execution. The story lacks an overarching plot or character development since it is written mostly as Rex’s report of the decline of old Earth and the rise of a new space age. There are occasional breaks in the writing which show Rex’s life on Township 7, but these do nothing more than talk about what food he eats and what his quarters are like. There is a rich and detailed future imagined here, but ultimately that is all. “Township 7: Life continues, even as society changes.” does not feel like a complete story, but two different stories mashed together, without enough time dedicated to fully develop either.
“Township 7: Life continues, even as society changes.” would have benefited from further editing before release. The majority of the writing is Rex’s historical account, which is written more like a high school report than an academic paper. It is riddled with phrasing such as “they all had stuff to do” and cliches such as “bad seed,” “right as rain,” etc. This clashes with Rex’s use of technological jargon in describing scientific advancements. Additionally, there were numerous grammatical and proofreading errors throughout the text, such as the constant misuse of who vs. whom. This proved quite distracting and indicates a lack of editing before publication.
Overall, “Township 7: Life continues, even as society changes.” contains an interesting view of the future with rich possibilities imagined, but lacks the plot and characters to go with it. Had this been all, I might have given it 3 stars, but due to the poor editing I can only give it 2.
Final verdict: ✮✮✰✰✰