A Small, Post-Apocalyptic World after all
Review of Elutheramania, Book 13 of Earths Final Chapter
Review by Tom Pahlow
Book 13 of Earths Final Chapter, Elutheramania, is a story combining some of my favourite things in fiction. The struggles of a burgeoning city in a hostile environment, legends forming and a previous story from another angle. All presented through the eyes of a character experiencing a different world for the first time.
The story, written by Julian Fernandes and Illustrated by Patricio Rodriguez, follows Rollo Gunman after the wreckage of his convoy on the coast. From this desperate position, he travels in search of the only other survivor. His journey takes him to the free city of Elutheramania and then on to Capital City in the Federation. Along the way, he makes some new enemies and more friends.
This one was a fun read, linking diverging stories from across the series. Familiar faces make appearances, and we find ourselves back in Capital City. It turns out that a post-apocalypse Earth is a small world after all. It made the whole story feel more personal like I knew the secrets of the world while the characters explored.
Fernandes also made part of this story show an earlier one from a different perspective. There are few things I like more than seeing a character whose head you’ve been inside of from someone else’s perspective. Like Logan Nine-Fingers in The First Law series, we see different truths about a character as we get to see how they view themselves and how they are seen by others. So keep an eye out for some main characters reappearing.
It was also interesting to see Rollo experiencing the world outside the isolationist Planetary Council. His wonder at the diversity of the places he travels, his experience of the good and the bad of the world, the taste of blue meat. It was nice to see a character mirroring what our own reaction would likely be to suddenly finding ourselves in a world of humans and mutants coexisting.
While reading Elutheramania, I was struck by the thought that Fernandes’s world in EFC is one of Legends and heroes. A mixture of Sci-Fi and speculative fiction, there has always been a sense of wonder and things beyond our reality in the series. It wasn’t until I read mentions of life debts to Avinon, the popularity of the Arena Champion and the newly acquired legend of Rollo himself
coming to the forefront that it truly hit me. EFC is a series showing the births, and deaths, of Legends in the world. Something which adds a level of intriguing fantasy to the sci-fi and spec fiction.
Underlying all those grandiose themes is still the struggle of humanity, though. The ending (Spoiler alert) with Kay and Rollo was also something that pulled me in further. It wasn’t a simple love story. How could it be? Fernandes acknowledged the change in the characters and also the pain of losing what once was for the uncertainty of what might be. It felt incredibly sad but real.
As always, the book ended with a clear signal of more to come, dangling us on the edge of knowledge. I can’t wait to keep reading.