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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
ALT by Aleksandar Nedeljkovic is an eco-speculative dystopian fiction novel set in a future landscape where the only animals with the power to protect or destroy the earth's natural state went with the latter. Those animals are, as you may have guessed, us. Humans. We did this. A flicker of optimism comes by way of technology, which is ironic since tech plays a heavy hand in the annihilation of the earth's precious resources. Salvation is never straightforward and even when there is little left to lose, man will still find a way to ruin nice things, and the technology called Sundance, that very salvation, is no exception. The book takes place over a series of days but the ravaging was in the making for decades and everything from the reformulation of government to state fractioning and oil deficits are all part of a snowball effect. It is a tech-adventure race spearheaded by perhaps the only group with the capacity to revive Sundance against everything that tore the planet apart in the first place.
ALT is a big novel and not a light read by any stretch of the imagination. Aleksandar Nedeljkovic doesn't baby down the tech talk and writes in a style reminiscent of Tom Clancy, with a grip on the technology that does not require much suspension of disbelief and a “bells and missiles” approach to action. People are separated, kidnapped, killed. Coffee is no longer available. The machinations of evil come in the form of real people, and so too does the ability to stop it. Where Nedeljkovic elevates his work and displays all the signs of a gifted writer are in his descriptive elements. Some of the prose is exceptional, such as “...they absently watched the black ribbon of road twist capriciously ahead of them, finding the way of least resistance through stubby desert hills speckled with rocks and scraggy shrubs.” At its core, ALT is a science fiction thriller, and a distinctively good one at that. I loved the characters and look forward to seeing where Nedeljkovic takes this next. The possibilities are endless.