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Bradford Tatum

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Publish)

Willoughby, known back on Earth as “the East Hamptons of the Kuiper Belt,” is the first sustainable colony on Mars. Built by the mysterious geneticist Carlo Yakamura this settlement encourages the rich to live as they please. They can enjoy decadent homes, physically modifiable partners, meals based on their best memories and even boutique children known on Willoughby as Builds. Designed to impress even at the dullest cocktail parties, the Builds’ proprietary motive genes have been sourced from the DNA of some of the greatest artistic disruptors of the last several centuries. But even among a host of uniquely gifted Builds, Lo is unique. And uniquely unbalanced. So what would be the grisliest of murders back on Earth, is just an inconvenience on Willoughby. That is why Lo is sent to be “seasoned” by a man we only come to know only as Cook. Can Cook’s fatherly hand guide Lo to a deeper understanding of his potential and purpose or is Lo’s innate power destined to destroy all of Willoughby? Is Lo the key to Cook’s creative redemption or is he the cause of Cook’s worst nightmares? And once Cook learns the true purpose of Yakamura’s Willoughby will Lo or Cook find the colony worth saving at all? LO is a sci-fi noir thriller, painted in more deeper shades of blue than black. It is also a story of fathers and sons, lost to one another through terrible compromises and found again through the limits of love. It is a parable of our possible future, a future that is doomed if we rely only on the digital representation of our present while forgetting the lessons and lore of our analogue past.

Semi Finalist

Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


Plot/Idea: Tatum brews a bewitching storyline, seasoned with carefully-prepared descriptions that lend a sharp and irresistible flavor to the work.

Prose: Tatum's sumptuous and well-seasoned prose is lush, crafted with attention to its character, and acting as a wholly engaging, intelligent, and well-balanced vector through which the story takes its irresistible shape.

Originality: Buoyed by its impeccable prose, LO delivers with a magnetism that makes the more well-trod genre foothills feel like unexplored trails.

Character Development/Execution: Wickedly evocative and personal prose brings every character of LO, from front-runners to backgrounders, to life with aplomb.

Date Submitted: August 03, 2022