Book Review – What They Deserve by Sam Hendricks

There’s this running meme that’s been popping up lately about talking on phone in the 50s and being concerned that the line was tapped. Flash forward to 2019 and you’ve got a woman asking Alexa, “Hey, wiretap, what’s a good recipe for pancakes?”

It’s possible to debate the ins and outs of tech like Alexa, Siri, whatever Google’s calling their robo-assistant lately, but it’s not possible to debate the unintended side-effects of having a box sitting in your living room that’s listening to everything you say. Nor is it wise to debate the fact that you just paid good money to give every advertiser on the planet direct access to your house.

Now, I honestly don’t believe big tech has any nefarious plans for Alexa beyond finding new and exiciting ways to sell you shoes and non-stick pans, but what if that weren’t the case?

Sam Hendricks took that scenario, shook it up a little,  and added a hefty dose of mystery and crafted something uniquely terrifying not because of monsters or the existential threat of nuclear annihilation, but because of the extremely close proximity to our own world. A world where tech can provide a sense of security, much like a wall that keeps the bad guys out and controls the sanctity of the Reformed United States.

It’s control that’s the key to the story. Walls can be climbed or flown over or even tunneled under, but a good piece of tech can be even better at keeping people under control. And it’s into that world that Hendricks drops us with a smile and a wave.

What They Deserve is relatively short story, along the lines of a novella, but Hendricks packs it full of information. In the tradition of good writers, she doles out bits of data a byte at a time rather than giving us a full tedious, historical dump. Aside from being a nervous-making tale of technological and tyrannical woe, it’s a fun story that might leave you wondering about the technology we use every day and how it could impact our lives. I’m sure Alexa will have more information about that, though.

Highly entertaining, well-paced, and fun. This could be the start of a great series, if Sam was so inclined to write it.

SEATTLE, WA: 2053.

Summer Wilkins, the official spokesperson for the Reformed United States, is still grieving the loss of her son when a shocking murder rocks the city. After her husband is implicated, she’s drawn into a rebellion that’s ready to do anything to find out the truth behind the new “Inevix patches” being distributed to the public. Murder, mystery, and politics abound as Summer finds out that the biggest secrets are being hidden in her own family.

Get your copy on Amazon or from Kyanite Publishing

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Full-Bore Gonzo

If you’ve ever wondered how it is I come up with some of my more bonkers ideas, let me tell you a little tale.

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Back in and around the turn of the millennium, when everything was supposed to go to Hell in a hand-basket because of the Y2K bug, I was living down the street from where I am now. Truthfully, that’s not that important, except it put me in close proximity to the house of one of Diazien Hossencofft. That name, in conjunction to the time frame, should trigger alarm bells in anyone versed in Albuquerque’s strange and savage history.

Now, I have never met Hossencofft, nor have I met any of his multiple wives, but he was living a short distance from me and I didn’t even know who or what he was until I repeatedly saw news crews outside his house as I driving home.

Diazien Hossencofft and his girlfriend were convicted of murdering Hossencofft’s wife (whose body still hasn’t been found) and sentenced to whole mess of time in the big house. That, in and of itself, isn’t all that crazy. What is crazy, is there were allegations during that trial that they killed her to get ready for the mass invasion of reptilian-alien masters who already ran the US government and Hossencofft and his girlfriend may have eaten at least part of his murdered wife.

That’s bonkers, even in New Mexico where alien abduction is a perfectly valid excuse for being late for work.

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Remember, this is a state that gave the world the Roswell Incident and all the allegations about a secret base in Dulce, NM run by aliens and former Nazis who are trying to create alien/human hybrids. (Admit it, you thought I was making all that up in Arise, didn’t you?) Even here in the Land of Enchantment, the story of Diazien Hossencofft is outlandish.

And this guy was living a stone’s throw from me.

All those ideas that seem so far-fetched Рaliens, secret bases, alien/human hybrids, Satanic plots Рare pretty run-of-the-mill in New Mexico. We were telling those stories long before Scully and Mulder showed up on the scene; I just took those tales and used them as plot points in fiction.

When it comes to high weirdness, we’re experts, so it shouldn’t be surprising that magical realism is a common theme here. We made international news in 1947 and have been riding high on it ever since. The first atomic bombs were detonated here in New Mexico. We’re used to this kind of thing. If that makes us weird, then so be it. As the master of Gonzo himself said,

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” – Hunter S. Thompson

They say when it comes to writing, write what you know. And I know weird.

More on the murder of Girly Chew Hossencofft