The Maxist Manifesto
Review of Homestead Hunts, Book 8 of Earths Final Chapter
Review by Tom
Ever wished that Animal Farm featured more cannibalism? Wish no more as Homestead Hunts, Written by Christina DZA Marie and Illustrated by John Hawkins, makes a meal of revolution and humans alike. A stark comment on today’s society delivered in a compelling story told with nuance in spades.
A gripping story of revolution and the extremes that humanity can go to if allowed, Book 8 of Earths Final Chapter is a complex story that makes us question our morals at every turn. Homestead is in crisis and the state-sanctioned hunts on the lower classes, designated as prey, are finally forcing action. Navigating through these tumultuous times are a prey rights activist who believes in pacifism, a smuggler and gun runner who aligns with only her family, and her predator son who knows that his mother cannot see past his designation.
Using the idea of prey and predators as a metaphor and plot device is far from new in storytelling. Marie stands out for the nuance she wields within the obvious metaphor. It’s not just an extreme representation of the Upper classes exploiting the lower classes. It’s not just a comment on the superfluous things we chose to denote status. It shows us the subtle prejudices that crop up alongside the obvious ones.
Characters like Bernard and Beatrice, both predators, are still outcasts despite their supposed status. Discriminated against for completely different reasons by the very people who look down on anyone with a prey totem. Marie shows us that it is never good enough to just be a member of the broad elite, the requirements of bigots only become narrower and narrower until anyone that isn’t exactly the same as you is the enemy. Ultimately this narrow-minded arrogance is what leads us down the paths of extreme brutality.
I have to say that I also loved the way that Marie understood the importance of news in changing society. Every modern revolution, good or bad, has utilised some form of a newspaper to spread its truth and garner support. The Bangtail Bugle and its advocacy for prey rights is no exception. It gave the whole story a legitimacy and basis in history that I loved.
While the situation in Homestead is undeniably horrid, especially if you happen to be given a prey totem, Marie didn’t make those at the top needlessly evil. Their brutality and apparent lack of concern with the current state of affairs wasn’t a transparent “the government and elites are evil”, Instead, no matter what your personal morality tells you, they have their reasons and act as they feel is best for the whole population. Yet another level of nuance that was incredible to read.
Marie’s book is filled with potent metaphors and comments that I absolutely loved. The line “Single prey women always need roommates,” a line shared between two women clearly in a relationship made me laugh out loud. What will the historians say about their relationship? I see what you did there Marie, well done.
Homestead Hunts does what all great stories do. It challenges us with many options and leaves it to us to decide if one option or another is the one we consider to be right. Can a revolution be non- violent? Does true change require at least some level of ruthlessness? What conditions are acceptable for the greater good? Clashes in these ideals typify Book 8 of Earths Final Chapter and left me thinking about it long after I put the book down.