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Caresaway Paperback – January 1, 2017
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About the Author
DJ Cockburn is a British author with stories in Apex, Interzone, and various anthologies. His story “Beside the Damned River” won the 2014 James White Award. He has supported his unfortunate writing habit through medical research on various parts of the African continent and drinking a lot of coffee.
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And psychopaths are very talented at getting ahead in business. . .
This novelette is a quick, tense read. The plot twists, and I found myself gasping and also delighting in the black humor of psychopathic plays for power. Edward was once a decent human being, and the story makes us feel for who he once was. It will also have you asking yourself what you would have done in his place. The ending is a sharp knife. Highly entertaining, and thought-provoking as well.
Caresaway is an original, well-written and well-developed dystopia novella, playing on the themes of modern society’s obsession with prescription medication and money to create a very realistic scenario. D. J. Cockburn’s characters are expertly developed and plausible, adding their own layers to the storyline as the plot unfolds. The real strength of this book for me, however, lay in the way each new development built on the preceding ones. There was no sudden save halfway through, just a continuous exposition leading to the final twist that managed to be more chilling than many abrupt exposés. Definitely one of the best-structured novellas I’ve read this year, with a thought-provoking plot.
I received a copy of this book for an honest review.
What if one of the side effects from the pill that could cure depression was that it turned you into a psychopath? Well, first off, let’s be clear about what a psychopath is. Psychopaths aren’t necessarily mass murderers. Key traits of psychopathy are a lack of empathy, not feeling guilt, selfishness, and the ability to charm the pants off other people to get what you want. (Did that make anyone in particular pop to mind? People with psychopathic tendencies aren’t as rare as you think they are.)
People with psychopathic tendencies make great businessmen, don’t they? When you’re willing to do whatever you need to get ahead, no matter what the fallout is, you can go far in business. There are definitely people with psychopathic tendencies running companies around the world today. But, as in Caresaway, what if the secret got out? What if everyone who wanted to get ahead was willing to turn into a psychopath if it meant getting ahead in business?
Caresaway is an intriguing speculative fiction novel because it examines what this would mean on both a personal and worldwide level. It is told from the viewpoint of the man who created the drug. The creator suffered from depression himself. It’s interesting to watch his arc in this novelette and consider what decisions you might make if you were him.
Overall, Caresaway is a good read if you enjoy speculative fiction. It definitely made me sit back in my seat and think about the situation for a bit afterward.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review consideration.
As a bonus, the book is set mostly in South Africa, which adds a slightly exotic feel to the story and has some influence on the relationships between characters. Overall, a highly realistic story that takes the world in a dark direction. I found the very end (which I don’t want to spoil) particularly thought-provoking.