Title: The Fifth Column
Author: Robert Corrado
Published: November 12th, 2013
Page Count: 324 pages
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Content Warning: Some violence
Recommended Age: 14+
In the near future, the United States has been transformed into the Unified State, an oppressive police state that keeps its citizens under constant surveillance. Poverty and crime are rampant, and the citizens live beneath a perpetual cloud of fear. Pedro Pulido has never known his country to be any other way, but his grandfather remembers a time before, and he teaches Pedro to recognize the propaganda for what it is and to think for himself. Still, Pedro is no revolutionary. Then Pedro’s quiet town is engulfed by the country’s growing anti-government insurgency, and terrifying changes begin to occur. A mechanical soldier with artificial intelligence, Samuel, is deployed in the neighborhood and, like others of its kind, is glorified by the government as a great protector of the people. However, it quickly becomes apparent that Samuel isn’t just keeping an eye out for insurgents. After the death of one of Pedro’s closest friends at Samuel’s hands, Pedro finds himself faced with a decision. Does he accept the status-quo or seek justice for his friend’s murder?
Samuel sat motionless at the end of the cul-de-sac in the pouring rain. Or, seemingly motionless to the residents of Sanctuary Court, anyway. Currently, it had 12 uni-directional robotic ears trained with mathematical precision on strategic points within the neighborhood. Three other microphones were set to record all nearby ambient noise through a variety of filters for the sounds of electrical and mechanical tools, the spoken word, and even whispering. They could record the drop of a pin with crystal clarity from over 100 meters away. Samuel’s numerous optical lenses were trained similarly. In wide-angle they could snap to movement and then zoom in and follow. In tight-angle they could record in high-definition a portion of a citizen’s tattoo or birthmark and, even if it was half concealed, compare it against millions of others in the FBI, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, and Civil Defense Intelligence databases. For all of its concealed functionality, it looked like its power switch had been shut off. Samuel observed the residents of the street peering out through their half-closed curtains and blinds or through front doorways held slightly ajar. The heavy rain pattered against its frame, and in the gray overcast day, it looked like something discarded.
Robert Corrado grew up in a small town in the California foothills reading comic books and science fiction novels, muddling through pen and paper role-playing games, and filming amateur action shorts on his neighbor’s VHS camcorder. He currently resides in Denver Colorado. He’s always been a big dreamer, starting his own business at the age of 21, and pursuing creative projects throughout his life in a variety of mediums. He enjoys reading novels, watching films, skiing, dancing and karaoke with his wife Karen, and spending time with his Jack Russell Terrier, Joey. He has been writing creatively since grade school and shows no signs of stopping. Some of his favorite books are 1984, Jennifer Government, and just about anything by Phillip K. Dick. If he were standing in front of you or writing an about page for you he’d definitely thank you for taking the time to read something he wrote so…
Welcome to your utopia. Everything is government run. There is no need for advertising because the “big business” all sale their goods at a fair price. Which means no price gouging, no Black Friday sales and no fighting over whose logo is better. Everyone gets a fair share of food, clothing and shelter. You’ll have everything that you ever needed. This all seems fair and you want to move there immediately right?
Well, let me ask you this:
How long would you make it in a society where the government has total control over what you do, what you say and where you go? In a world where there is no internet. Yep, you heard me. None, nada, zilch internet! I’d be done the first day. 🙂
This novel took the “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (Abraham Lincoln) and turned into a dictatorship under the guise of giving the people more freedom. Freedom of speech will now cost you your life. In the United States, where we’re constantly connected to something that runs on batteries, I feel lost if I leave home without my iPhone (I don’t have one by the way, I love my Android), and we’ll start a fight if you agree with our freedom to speak our minds, if this book somehow became reality tomorrow, we would lose our minds.
Robert Corrado started his story in a way that hyped me up and had me ready to fight back. He follows Pedro and his friends as they attempt to carry on their daily activities, under the watchful eye of big brother. He made me upset with the government (was that your ploy all along Robert), but he made me think. Is this were we are heading now? Will we sit back and let the government take over? If I was able to make it past the first day without my kindle and with the metal man outside watching and listening, what would I do?
Well, first I think I’d hang out with Pedro’s neighbor, William Rache. He’s a little weird but he really just needs some love. Where’s my free hugs sign? Can someone make me one?
Then I’d start plotting on how to dismantle the creepy robot, Samuel, and build a computer. I’m already having technology withdrawals!
Author Robert Corrado is giving away some great prizes! One lucky winner will receive a free copy of The Fifth Column, plus a $50 Amazon gift card. Four other winners will receive a copy of the book! Enter through Rafflecopter. Winners will be randomly selected by the author at the end of the tour.
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