Reviewed by T. L. Needham.
The Perihelion by D. M. Wozniak takes place mainly in Chicago, now known as Bluecore 1C in the year 2069, on January 3rd—the eve of the perihelion (the point in the planet’s orbit when it is nearest the sun).
The story opens in what is a dystopian future for many. It is a utopian future for others, mainly the wealthy, powerful, and highly successful. The major cities in the nation have been enclosed into high tech enclaves called Bluecores. The outlying areas, called Redlands, remain rooted more in past customs and traditions.
Bluecore 1C is a future world populated with a limited number of human hybrids that are 99 percent human and one percent the DNA of a certain animal or insect, giving each 99er unique traits. The author takes pains to develop each character in depth—their motives, backgrounds, fears, phobias, desires, and missions—and all are artfully rendered.
The world they live in is vividly described for the reader. High tech devices such as surveillance drones, embedded IDs, driverless cabs, stun-gun weapons, palm-print locks, and more, all seem like logical extensions of modern emerging technology.
This 560-page story is a daunting undertaking for a reader. Early on, we meet six protagonists, each as fascinating as the next, set in a background that is rich in visual details and imagery. This pulls the reader forward, totally immersed in this unusual future world and it is fascinating.
As the story unfolds, a mystery emerges when someone tries to kill off certain 99ers, actually by loving them to death. Those hunting for answers to this mystery become the hunted. At the same time, one 99er with very unique abilities is trying to take down the entire high tech structure holding the Bluecore 1C society together. This fast paced drama brings the six main characters together on a collision course to a final outcome. The pace quickens brilliantly to a conclusion that is stunning, profound, disturbing, and thought provoking. You will find yourself craving a sequel to learn what happens next.
This is a long and challenging story, weaving six character plots around the evolving central plot. It will require the reader to be focused, patient, and fully engaged. And, do not skip any pages because every page contains essential elements. Not many writers could pull this off. Well done, Mr. Wozniak. Brilliant.