A Printer's Choice
W. L. Patenaude, author
In January 2088, life in outer space is rocked with news of its first homicide. The dead man—a young Dominican Priest—had secretly made his way “upside” and lived as a common laborer. His intentions are a mystery and the killer’s identity and motive are questions that the best investigators of the new world cannot answer. With public order threatened, the reputation of the ruling engineers at stake, and criminal elements seizing the opportunity to gain control, authorities seek help from Earth—itself recovering from decades of war and environmental crises. With assistance from the Vatican, they recruit Father John Francis McClellan, a parish priest from Boston and a retired US Marine Corps expert in “high-defs”—the artificially intelligent three-dimensional printers that built the new world. A Printer’s Choice tells a story of faith, the future, and the power of free will. It explores questions about sentience, choice, and the necessity of choosing well. Set in locations on Earth and in the orbits, the story takes place in a future extrapolated from today’s geopolitical and ecological turmoil. In this epic debut novel, author W. L. Patenaude illuminates not just the struggles of our world, but also the promises and implications of building a better one, one choice at a time.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10
Plot: This novel is well plotted and moves along at a good pace. The use of a priest as the protagonist adds an original element of spirituality to the text.
Prose: The sentences flow well and the language is simple and to the point. There is no overwritten prose to distract readers from the intense story.
Originality: From casting a priest as the protagonist to the intelligent printers, this novel feels fresh and original.
Character Development: Father John Francis McClellan is a well rendered, multi-dimensional character. His development is near perfect and his flaws feel real and make him more human.
Date Submitted: April 05, 2018
Theologian Patenaude’s masterful debut novel tells a gripping story of the near future. In 2088, life in outer space is now a reality thanks to advanced 3-D printing technology. A seemingly orderly world is shattered by the news of outer space’s first homicide. The victim is a Catholic priest, leading to much speculation about both the priest’s reasons for going up to atheistic outer space and the suspected murderer’s motives. With political stability threatened, the Vatican, still powerful on a war-torn, environmentally damaged Earth, sends a parish priest and former Marine, Father John McClellan, to investigate. McClellan’s experience with 3-D printers may be the key to solving the mystery. This is a superb morality tale in which the power of free will and the implications of making good choices are carefully woven together. Patenaude’s take on the possibilities of technology is inventive and in line with contemporary science, and his work truly shines as a nuanced, character-driven drama. This work is a must-read for those who enjoy thought-provoking, challenging speculative fiction. (BookLife)