7 October 2022

by Brad C. Anderson
Published by Shadowpaw Press Reprise
Review by Toby A. Welch
$23.95 ISBN 9781989398395

I must admit that sci-fi isn’t my go-to choice for fiction. Sure, I loved the X-Files TV show and thoroughly enjoyed reading Ender’s Game and Dune but that was about the extent of it. Duatero changed that – science fiction will now be a genre I regularly reach for. 

The title of this book confused me at first – what the heck is a duatero? Is it a sea creature with two legs? Some kind of two-sided crystal? Wrong on both counts. The title of this book is the name of an abandoned Earth colony. The fantastical world that Anderson created in Duatero is a fascinating place to be during the hours it takes to read the book. The main character, Majstro Falchilo Kredo, works furiously to protect Duatero from Malamiko, an ecosystem that is causing the colony’s crops to fail. Malamiko is threatening their way of life in every way; the possibility of Duatero having a future is dire. This well-written ecological apocalyptic tale is spellbinding.

It is obvious that Anderson put a tremendous amount of thought and research into Duatero. It is flush with deeply developed characters and a storyline that Anderson didn’t just rattle off in a few hours. It is a refreshing change that the ‘bad guy’ in the book isn’t a person but a thing. Action scenes abound, a great thing. The writing is sharp and flawless, keeping you drawn into the plot. This book is a true work of literary art.

Duatero had everything that an unputdownable science fiction book should have. As well as other worlds and the threat of extinction, it also had a vocabulary unto itself. I made my own glossary as I consumed the book, keeping track of malamiko, falchilo, founders, kiraso, unua, xuanhe, and others. I loved that I felt a sense of hope from beginning to end, not the doom and gloom some sci-fi books exude. 

I had a touch of Ayn Rand vibes as I read Duatero, which is a good thing. Like in Rand’s books, it felt like the author was writing about one subject while the underlying message may have been something completely different. It often takes weeks or even months for my brain to process a book so hopefully I’ll figure it out by the time a potential sequel comes out. (The author left enough hanging in this book to justify a sequel if he was so inclined – hint hint, Anderson.)

I highly recommend this book for all established readers of science fiction as well as readers who are looking to give the genre a try. You won’t regret it! 


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