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As of 28 February 2016, due to decline in my health and chronic illness

Tuesday, July 7, 2015



Release: July 7 2015

REVIEW: JONESBRIDGE [Echoes of Hinterland #1] by M. E. Parker

I wrote in a review not long ago that there is dystopiana, and then there is DYSTOPIANA. The former you can read of, close the book, and forget. The latter will never leave you. JONESBRIDGE falls into that latter category: from the brutal reader's hook of the first several pages, the alert reader is steeped in the oppression, regulation, and pointless suffering. I've had nightmares that scared me much less than the mere thought of Jonesbridge. People aren't human here; they are "slogs." No love, no freedom, no emotion. Jonesbridge is an unending living nightmare.

"...Jonesbridge isn't just a dystopia of geography, but that of the human condition, ravaged by history... M.E. Parker is a cartographer of the spirit, navigating us through his powerful prose that is unflinchingly honest...”—Peter Tieryas Liu, author of BALD NEW WORLD and WATERING HEAVEN

In this world-building series, perfect for fans of Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 and Hugh Howey's WOOL, to survive a grim island prison a young man and woman must work for the Complex. To escape it, they will need to destroy it.

Myron enters the Jonesbridge Industrial Complex as a worker, a prisoner, commanded to harvest the scant resources that enable the powers that be to continue waging an unwinnable war. When Sindra—a fellow prisoner and a spirited fighter—joins him at the salvage line, he finds a new reason to live, and to escape. Even though any attempt to leave will lead to execution, Myron and Sindra plan a daring escape.

But when a guard is found murdered and Myron is blamed for the crime, it appears that they will not even get a chance to attempt to fly over the gorge that separates Jonesbridge from the rest of the world. It will take everything that Myron and Sindra have to merely survive their brutal overlords. It will take even more to set them both free. As their world changes, Myron and Sindra work through the Jonesbridge underground, meeting a mesmerizing cast of characters—dangerous survivors bent on destroying Jonesbridge once and for all.

Author's Q & A:

Where did the idea for Jonesbridge come from? When I was a kid (late 70’s), fourth grade or so, I used to have an inexplicable fascination with drawing factories and chimney stacks belching smoke into the sky.  I drew them tall and short and in perspective, no drawing complete until the the smoke filled the page. Thirty plus years later, I ran across one of those drawings in a stack of keepsakes at my mother’s house, and my eye was drawn from the edge of the page to the world under the smoke, a future world in a dark age where technology has been lost and with it the information we’ve amassed in the digital realm. A love story in a world of  coal, smoke, rust, and salt.


Why do you think there is such a fascination with tales of a bleak

and dystopian future?

I think the idea of dystopia is familiar to us on a subconscious level. We read about it in the news, cry over it, squirm beneath the bureaucracies and injustices of police-state tactics and social inequality. The dystopian novel mimics microcosms of oppression found in all corners of our own world. Our own society would sound like dystopia if we were to describe it to someone in the 50’s. I think our attraction to stories of a dire future underscore our understanding of ourselves, that we are much more likely to overcome calamity than to avoid it.  Perhaps our passion for dystopian fiction is a glimpse into the doomsday prepper that lives in each of us, a way we reassure ourselves of our own human will and capacity to survive anything.


Would you consider Jonesbridge a post-apocalyptic novel?

Yes and no. In Jonesbridge there is only a present, the past is almost as uncertain as the future, and the present exists without the weight of how it came to be looming over it. When knowledge is lost only speculation remains. A dark age. The apocalypse is more of a decay of  a civilization that has rusted.


Why is salvage and repurpose such an important part of the novel?

Less and less of what the previous world, the Old Age, left behind survives due to repurpose and recycling, like the metal from an Old Age toy, when found, would have been melted down and used as a bullet casing. After a while, finding Old Age relics becomes difficult and makes them all the more valuable as a link to an unknown past.


Why Bora Bora?

Bora Bora is such a beautiful and far flung place, one that most people have never visited, that I could imagine it being less affected by the ills of the earth except for a rise in sea level, but it would be a great place to try for if you thought could make it.  


If you could offer a bit of advice to a new arrival in Jonesbridge,

what would it be? Work as hard as you can to get graduate out of the salvage pit.


If the rations commissary in Jonesbridge were to ever offer a soup of

the day, what would it be?

Probably pumpkin stew, a local favorite, which varies by preparation but most commonly contains pumpkin rinds, brine tuber, and shin pine needles in goat fox stock.

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