Plot: A slow-burn plot brings the reader into the narrative with a deft hand, steadily peeling back the monochromatic layers of character and worldbuilding to reveal a vibrant and biting commentary on modern society.
Prose/Style: Huntingdon's prose eschews flowery descriptors for a sterility that marries well to its concept, as well as a sparsity of language that is all the more powerful for being so, as it creates in its negative spaces a surprising amount of depth for which the reader to sink into and engage the work.
Originality: The union of philosophy with science fiction is far from a novel concept, but A Simple Thought of Sanity breathes a freshness into this coupling. With a powerfully-realized concept, perfectly realized through the writing, the book engages a necessary, full-force commitment to the exploration of the human psyche that will undoubtedly delight readers of high-concept science fiction and keep the pages turning until the very end.
Character Development/Execution: The characters of Huntingdon's surrealist novel come together in a pastiche of social commentaries, saying more with actions than any words spoken, and hypnotic in how they emerge from their deliberately-crafted shells as the story progresses.
Date Submitted: May 05, 2021
Minimalist, surreal, and graceful, this parable reveals a disposable and sterile culture on the verge of demise. Rampant capitalism promises more and better products to a population devoid of emotion, and anything out of place or deemed dangerous is removed by the Cleaners. A catalyst for change, Lucian, whom Brutus thinks is obscene for wearing a Face with the bottom half removed, takes humanity from one extreme of constraint and compliance, but he pushes it toward another extreme of immorality. True to his name, Brutus betrays his City by declaring at the revolution, “For it was a simple thought of sanity that brought about the new age.”
Readers who enjoy dystopian worlds will immerse themselves in this bleak, totalitarian society coated in an eerie tone of dread and dismay. The third act trails into despairing territory, and some events don’t logically follow the earlier premise. Nevertheless, Huntingdon (the pen name of a married couple) presents a cautionary tale of foresight and warning that some constraint is necessary for a species capable of much darkness.
Takeaway: Readers of dystopian fiction will enjoy this dark commentary on conformity and the consequences of breaking free.
Great for fans of: Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A