by Mark Cantrell on Nov.22, 2009, under ARCHIVE
Coming soon from new UK publisher Writers of Worlds
WAR isn't coming anymore – it's already here. On the street corners, outside the window, smashing through the door… it's come home.
The zeros – the poor, the destitute, the unemployed – are in open revolt, turning the high streets and suburbs of prosperous cities into the battlegrounds of a final, desperate civil war.
It's a world born of today's globalisation and the War on Terror; a society founded on privilege, where the fear of terror and crime keeps the population passive, where the poverty of the many has bought the prosperity of the few. And where the Reaper has finally come to collect his dues.
For some, this cowled spectre is the avenger of justice and liberty, for others the monster of social disintegration. Either way, the spectre is far from pretty.
Technology intended to control the populace – rfID cards, CCTV, automatic facial recognition, tagging and more – are rendered ineffective. The traditional 'iron fist' of the state is overwhelmed by an awakened power as old as civilisation.
And the violence is spreading. A contagion of rage, infecting the world, overturning old certainties, upsetting the balance of power and calling into question the very notion of the future...
SO he reaps what he sowed… Britain's longest serving Prime Minister clings desperate to power as cities descend deeper into the quagmire of chaos. Somewhere, a former accomplice who paved his road to power, has turned self-styled prophet of revolution with the vow to bring down the man he once served.
At his command, an underground army of dedicated revolutionaries determined to change the world. Beneath the rhetoric of a better world, however, is a nihilistic vision of apocalyptic proportions. His weapon, a psychotoxic virus specifically designed to knock out artificial reality and AI systems.
There is only one hope to restore order, and that is to find this virus and destroy it at source. So begins a desperate manhunt across two worlds to find and kill a zero.
DAVID Mills never asked to be a zero. He never asked to be 'volunteered' to the JobNet system, and he certainly never asked to be the virus carrier. Nobody asks a pawn what it wants, but seldom does a pawn gain such a chance to shape human destiny.
Now he faces a struggle to stay alive in the midst of a nightmare, stalked by a hideous alter ego that is the virus grafted to his mind, tormented by the ruins of the JobNet system that has become his prison, haunted by the death that has engulfed the world he knows.
If he can stay alive, if he can keep his sanity, if he can avoid the agents sent to kill him, then he might just be able to save the world. In the process, however, he will face his final – most demanding – test.
For buried deep in the core of JobNet is a chilling secret that will rock his sanity to the foundations. The true nature and purpose of JobNet will reveal not only why the zeros exist, but also why a civilisation faces execution.
Conscience demands the question: does the world deserve to live in the face of such a horrible revelation? There's no one else to answer it – and his choice will shape the fate of human existence.
Saviour or destroyer. The choice belongs to Mills, and he’s not exactly qualified to play the role. His day just keeps getting worse...
As with so many events in history, it was born in the mundane: with a simple trip to the local Job Mart.
The work creates a powerful amalgam of science fiction, political satire and social commentary reminiscent of Orwell, Kafka or Braddbury. The result is a compelling and powerful future shocker rooted firmly in the social landscape of today.
Originally published: 14-4-2007 | Archived: 28-10-2011
Welcome To 'Broken Britain'
After austerity came prosperity and stability, but it was bought at a terrible price...
In a surveillance society blind where it matters most, a deadly conspiracy is ready to strike...
A dictatorial Prime Minister, confident of his grip on power, is about to discover the limits of his strength...
A security operative turned terrorist is all set to bring down the man he once helped to steal power...
Welcome to Britain, a nation bitterly divided between rich and poor, as it teeters on the edge of chaos...
And unemployed David Mills is caught in the middle, torn from the woman he loves and thrown in to a terrible struggle to survive…
He’s a ‘zero’, one of the destitute millions, a nobody, but he’s also the one man who might salvage some kind of freedom out of the ruins of the future...
No wonder the Prime Minister wants him dead...
A dark warning of the dangers of abandoning social justice, Citizen Zero creates a powerful amalgam of science fiction, political thriller and social satire to present a dystopian world born out of today's austerity.
The result is a compelling and powerful future shocker rooted firmly in the social landscape of today. The Boys From The Black Stuff meet The Matrix and joins forces with V For Vendetta to create a disturbing vision of tomorrow's Britain.
Are you ready for the future?
About The Author
A coffee-guzzling journalist turned novelist and occasional poet, Mark Cantrell lives and works by the weave of his words.
By day, he works for a media company in Manchester, England, where he writes about the social housing industry. It provides plenty of fuel to keep the old social conscience simmering.
The rest of the time, Mark chases the literary dream.
He is the author of two novels, a host of short stories, and a multitude of articles and thought-provoking essays. Over the years, his writings have appeared in a number of small press 'zines, websites, and multi-author collections.
His fictional work tends to fall into the realms of science fiction and fantasy, with a little macabre horror thrown in for good measure, but he's not averse to touching upon social and political themes too.
That's certainly true of Mark's first novel, the dystopian science fiction thriller, Citizen Zero (Indie release, 2010), but it's also there, twisted into the DNA, of his second, the macabre urban fantasy, Silas Morlock (Inspired Quill, 2013).
Born and bred in Bradford, Mark now lives in Stoke-on-Trent, though he remains proud of his Yorkshire heritage.
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