The Superflare by Andrew G. Berger – Unhurried Powerful Storytelling

The Superflare talks of the power of human connection during a time of crises caused by a natural calamity. The novel is a hardcore sci-fi dystopian novel with that post-apocalyptic world survival mode. The novel is over 580 pages, not hurriedly delivered; in fact, it’s done in a relaxed writing mode. Andrew successfully weaved a story of great world building, ruins, resurrection, and much more. This is an exquisite story. So delicate! So heartbreaking! So stunningly written! The telling is unhurried… what a story it is.

The world is one, like ours…contemporary. The time is 2051. AI has learnt to overpower humans. It has learnt lessons from humans who thought that AI is under their control. Well, secretly it turned the tables.

In any post- apocalyptic situation, the world societies are divided. People of clean cities are tech advanced, they are guarded and fed by robot guardians. Their cities are clean. Children below 18 caged, they have their own world of virtual reality.

Outside the clean cities, the other places have mixed people – free settlers, fishermen, catchers, hunters, and bandits. They are forbidden to the clean cities. These outsiders have negligible access to modern weapons and technology. They generally uphold on hunting, farming, and some has taken up robbery, plundering…bad ways to live life of their own.

As the story commences with life and people of clean cities, scores of characters are introduced in a short span of time. Then, this superflare called solar storm disempowers the world. It much affects the people of clean cities; everything shuts down…all that robust technology of which they were proud of.

Barbarism and chaos follows up. People take the roads to find food, water and other services. Eventually, people from different classes confront and cross each other. From the clean city Julia and her friends somehow picked up by a benign free settler – Winston. But troubles never end until all find Richard, the man who lives in the mountains. For he could suggest as how to fight against Tron – AI empowered robot who has taken over the city forcefully.

Much of the story covers Julia and Winston’s chemistry of love. They bond well despite differences. Since many of the characters in action are teenagers, it truly is a coming-of-an-age novel.

If two third of the novel is about survival and running for life chances, well then the last phase of the story is about taking the robot army face-to-face to rebuild the future of humans. That part is really exciting. It becomes all the more, as robots need humans to rebuild the city for a lot of work. They begin hunting for their citizens….Julia is one, but Winston is an outsider.

“And he will come here sooner or later because he needs people to rebuild. There are hardly any left in the city. He’ll get people where there are still some to be found. From the settlers, if you need be. And one day he’ll be at your door, too.”

Richard and the president Amy understand what it takes to defeat Tron. But normal folks and villagers were relying on changing places, which was not a final solution.

“You can’t just go to the guardians and tell them to please give the power back now. For that, you need fighters, warriors, soldiers, and officers who can lead them.”

Julia is a lead character. Other auxiliary ones are around her, associated with her. She has a dark past, a gift that she realizes while fighting the robots, drones, and so on. But her ultimate search is to find her mother who would speak to her when she was growing in a comb. But little did she know that she has been experimented by her own real parents. Who are them? You could find out as you flit pages till the end.

This is top notch writing – gentle and compelling in turns, even when it gets just a bit twee. The writer closes all the loops in the end and ties them up with a beat little bow but somehow it doesn’t feel forced. That the story talks of the power of human connection amidst the darkness of a post-apocalyptic world makes the narrative even more beautiful. This could be your all time favourite sci-fi fiction.

TitleThe Superflare
AuthorAndrew G. Berger
Edition Reviewed2022
The Asian Review Rating8 out of 10

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