Contact follows a mysterious character called Mason as he assembles gifted people for an unexplained purpose. Each character he collects, drawn to him through a unique bond referred to as ‘the Contact’, serves a greater purpose. For me, it had a strong sense of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, where Roland draws the Three and travels to the great city to board the train.
While each of the characters who accompany Mason is given a brief backstory, his own origin is not revealed. Tank, for me, was the best character and the only one who really broke the stereotypical mould of gun-toting action hero. He is a giant with the mind of a child, yet gifted with an almost instinctual understanding of machinery which makes him indispensable to both his friends and the story.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting referred to simply as the ‘After’. It is clear that technology from the ‘Before’ was ahead of present day, leaving Mason with a bad-ass energy rifle and allowing dangerous encounters with hover tanks and sentinel robots. Otherwise, the world and story is much akin to Mad Max, The Book of Eli and many others within this genre.
The bad guys of the story, leather-clad Raiders, are a stereotypical bunch. Many of whom are given a cursory introduction to explain to the reader how bad they are, usually through rape. Their leader on the other hand is curious, his motivations and methods giving a certain intrigue to the plot.
Due to post-apocalyptic loss of knowledge there are several areas where the author attempts to describe a piece of technology to the reader. I can understand what the author is trying to achieve, but these moments are often tedious. The descriptions are often for mundane items such as escalators, a lighter and a train.
Another issue for me was where the author effectively repeats himself several times whilst describing a scene. There are entire paragraphs wholly dedicated to talking about how a yellow light illuminates a room or how large a door is, without progressing the story or adding anything extra to the scene.
Overall, it is apparent that this story requires a thorough proofread. Innumerable typos, missed or misplaced words, and improper punctuation was noted throughout:
“As the initial explosion echoed I to silence it, a burst of rapid gunfire followed.”
However, with a round of editing most of these nagging issues could be tidied up. Leaving the reader to enjoy what is essentially a rip-roaring action story with some strong characters and an enjoyable plot.
The first part of the Mason chronicles, unfortunately, is not a stand alone story. And, although it ends with a dramatic scene, there wasn’t a satisfying plot resolution. It also doesn’t address who Mason is, what his purpose is or generally what is going on. By the time the characters had reached the hub I felt I had just gotten into the story, only for it to have come crashing to a halt. I certainly believe there is strong potential here but it is a short piece that feels incomplete and lacks a rounded finish.