The Children of Atom avenge their post-Alamogordo legacy, and change, forever, everyone's Fourth of July.
Author: Stephen C. Sutcliffe
Genre: Mythology, Folktale, legends
Reviewed by: Jennifer Weiss
Rating: 4 Star Review
Pacific Book Review
In his novel Atom, Stephen Sutcliffe explores the intrigue, fear, and paranoia that would follow any sort of apocalyptic event such as the atomic bomb. Living in the nuclear age that follows the atomic bomb, Michael Brethren and his friends refer to themselves as the Children of Atom. They formulate a plan to build and unleash a bomb of their own on their town to prove a point. While the group of friends have limitless funds from their parents and money from their own drug deals, they are still a long way from being able to purchase the massive amounts of plutonium they need, so what better plan than to steal from a drug kingpin. Surprisingly enough they accomplish their heist without little repercussions.
Spanning a wide range of territory, this story takes the reader on a crazy train ride. The story takes place in about 1974-1975, a time when the fear and panic about the atomic bomb and nuclear weapons was surmounting. Stephen Sutcliffe is able to capture that fear and panic within his writing. He makes the readers feel every emotion associated with those fears. The book is well written and engaging. The readers will find themselves immersed into the story and feeling as if they too are a part of the Children of Atom group. The action scenes are intensely vivid and descriptive. It is so easy to picture the setting, the sounds of each conflict, the inflection of the character’s voices when they are angry, the scent of the post nuclear war air. Sutcliffe does such an excellent job at describing all of this in a way that doesn’t overpower the story.
Michael and his friends talk immensely on nuclear policy, rants on the worship of the god of nuclear power: Atom. Sutcliffe writes these interactions with clarity and knowledge, showing he did the legwork needed to provide readers with something that is easy to understand. Michael and the other Children of Atom have very intense and in depth questions that challenge the readers to think about their own beliefs about war, religion, and national policy. With the use of the God Atom, Sutcliffe creates his own mythology that seems plausible. He creates a belief system that stands out and contends with the other mythology of the Greeks and Romans.
Atom has an interesting concept that has not been attempted before. While it covers a lot of information, it flows well together…Overall the story has huge potential and market. Mythology and folklore fans will enjoy the Atom mythos. Post apocalyptic fans with enjoy the post nuclear war aspect. Suspense and thrill fans will enjoy the Children of Atom’s plan to steal from the drug dealer. It has a little something for every genre to enjoy…”
AMAZON EDITORIAL REVIEW:
'...The narrative has plenty of twists, and the suspense is high. Sutcliffe creates a visceral portrait of a troubled time in America, and this book is certainly worth a careful read, as it is especially prescient given dangers in the present moment…’
by Stephen C. Sutcliffe
reviewed by Joe Kilgore
"The only people to wield nuclear weaponry for genocidal purposes were the ones who most deserved to see and experience the same."
Sutcliffe has fashioned an incendiary thriller based on the exploits of wealthy, disaffected youth who make Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero crowd look like Mouseketeers. These alienated narcissists of the 60’s and 70’s use and sell dope, become transfixed by classic rock and roll, and engage collectively in a topsy-turvy philosophy that proposes the best way to end nuclear proliferation is to set off an atomic explosion in the good old USA.
Today’s environmental activists can’t hold a candle to Sutcliffe’s committed conspirators who fly planes, assassinate drug lords, steal dirty money, bribe officials, infiltrate secure facilities, and handle lethal weapons, explosives, and military armaments like The A-Team. The author imbues his cockeyed collective with enough pseudo intellectual palaver to seemingly convince one another that their motives are pure. Of course this purity of pursuit doesn’t stop each of them from planning to be somewhere far, far, away when the mushroom cloud makes its dramatic entrance.
All things considered, ATOM is both an interesting and fun read if one is frequently empathetic to adolescent altruism, no matter how illogical it may be. The author’s extensive vocabulary is put to effective use without slowing down a narrative that steadily builds suspense. Will the self-styled revolutionaries complete their mission? Will one of America’s sleepy hamlets be consumed in a nuclear conflagration? Will sanity prevail or will zealotry triumph? And who is to say which is which? It’s just possible that ATOM may be unlike any novel you’ve read before. That alone might make it worth your time.
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