Scavenger: Evolution is just as much Horror as it is Scifi. It has some scifi gadgets, such as the sand diving technology created in the novel Sand by Hugh Howey, (in which the world of my story originates), and a nanoinfused evolving monster. This future America has an isolated section east of the Rocky Mountains that has turned into a desert wasteland full of those dreaming of the riches buried in lost cities. In a way, I get to tune into my childhood fandom of the Alien franchise. My main character and a group of refugees flee into a buried military base. When they arrive, they realize the worst of enemies was waiting for them to open the door and turn on the power. My main character will have to use his sand diving technology to manipulate microscopic threats, some with programmed and deadly abilities.
Like all the best Horror, Scavenger: Evolution is about relationship struggles. My main character, Rush, lost his infant son to a sand spill two years ago. Since then he’s separated from his wife and resigned from his teaching duties as a sand divemaster and become a janitor at a tavern and brothel. In a way, S:E is also a bit Western. Their town is kind of like a mining town on the verge of becoming a ghost town, and he lacks the initiative to flee before there’s nothing left. For him, he isn’t sure there’s anything to live for anyway. A stranger offers him a job that would pay him enough to lose himself in the pleasures of wealth for a long time, and he must decide if he’s close enough to the dark point of no return to take the job.
Very quickly, he finds out that job has put him over his head and the love he’d forgotten he had for his wife is reborn. After the initial novelette, Red Sands, Scavenger: Evolution focuses on how he and his wife can rebuild their relationship. What they find within the base threatens their relationship in a way they didn’t expect, one where she can become strong enough not to care about his or anyone else’s help, and one where Rush is as helpless in saving her as he was saving his son.
My Horror influence in this story, aside from Alien, ranges from James Smythe (The Machine; The Explorer) to Ronald Malfi (Via Dolorosa; The Floating Staircase). They are both among my favorites through their ability to include fascinating Scifi and Horror elements, but mainly captivates my interest through the ways in which their characters seek for and struggle to find happiness. They’ve shown me that losing those we love is more terrifying than losing our life. With the powers that Rush and his wife, Star gain in this story, losing either one could be catastrophic for the remainder of civilization.
Scavenger: Evolution is available in ebook and print with links to stores direct from SpikePub.com.
Article by Tim Ward