Once We Were Human by Randall Allen Farmer
"When I screamed myself awake, nothing had changed. Metal cot. Straitjacket. Legs shackled together. A single tiny light bulb on the ceiling, behind a metal cage, bright enough to hurt my eyes."
Farmer, Randall (2011-11-09). Once We Were Human (The Commander) (Kindle Locations 39-41). MajorTransform Unlimited. Kindle Edition.
For me this is where the book begins. There is some preface and it does have relevance. But, as a reader the line above is where the story grabbed hold of me and began to draw me in.
There seems to be some discussion about genre- I have no qualms with calling this Science Fiction. There were many similarities that I could draw between this and the Novel Darwin's Radio. And for anyone who liked that book this book will be a satisfying read to you. For those who felt as I did that Darwin's Radio had a tendency to dwell too much on the stale scientific end of things ;then this book will not disappoint you.
There are some similarities- but mostly about the conjecture that there is some disease involved in what is happening.
This book is what I would term an Alternate Universe story - the story takes place in the 1960s. And in many places there are hints at speculation that what is happening may have happened one or more times in the past. This might create a feeling that its dwelling on myth and fantasy, but I believe as with other books like this it still stand strongly in the category of Alternate Universe Science Fiction. I'm not sure that it needed to be in the 60s, but it was a good place for these characters to be coming from.
In this story the reluctant Heroine is thrust into a nightmare that she would only relegate to what in her mind was the worst of sinners and criminals. She has to face her own prejudice and self loathing in order to cope with what she's become. And all around her are the barriers and abutments of a society that is living in fear of what she and others like her represent.
Randall Farmer takes us into our own paranoid 60s and creates some believable characters who are all working sometimes at odds with each other to try to contain something they can't begin to understand.
It's been a while since someone has written a novel that has kept me as engrossed in the story and immersed in the characters. This was both a thoughtful and fun read that I had difficulty putting down. There's a lot of room left for the next story in the series. I shall move to that after I catch my breath.