Fiction - Science Fiction
361 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Cleland Smith was born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1977 and grew up in Dingwall by the Cromarty Firth. She has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Glasgow and an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College, London. Smith has worked as a supermarket store detective, a telecoms knowledge engineer, a business analyst in the banking sector and as the development manager for an award-winning online learning company. She has published three books of poetry under her maiden name, Angela Cleland, with Templar Poetry and latterly Salt Publishing. She lives in Surrey with her husband and two sons.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

Sequela by Cleland Smith is adult science fiction at its best. Sequela opens with the strangest and most interesting job interview I've ever read. From there, Cleland Smith introduces us to our protagonist, Kester Lowe. Kester is a scientist. He creates designer viruses and at the beginning of Sequela he is about to jump from working in academia to the vastly more profitable and competitive world of mega-corporations. A lot of what this novel is about is summed up in the title. Sequela refers to the long term effects of a disease or any lingering complication of a disease. Welcome to the wonderful world of the future.

I haven't enjoyed reading a new writer this much since I picked up a book called Neuromancer many many years ago. Cleland Smith has created a clear, crisp, clean, edgy, and fast vision of the future that is very, very plausible. This is the reason it may scare you. For most of my life, the human race has been justifiably terrified of nuclear weapons but Cleland Smith shows us a world where disaster arrives from a much smaller source. This vision of a brave new biological future is what makes Sequela sparkle. Cleland Smith may be the first writer in a new science fiction sub-genre similar to the cyber punk movement. She writes with authority about the pervasiveness of Biology in the money and power-hungry world of future corporate boardrooms. I liked Kester Lowe, but I liked the future vision of London and corporations even more.

Kayti Nika Raet

Sequela by Cleland Smith is a speculative fiction novel set in a future in which man has finally been able to eradicate all disease and has built a world in which the common cold is far from common. Dr. Kester Lowe, a brilliant young scientist, has dreams of turning the viruses that people currently wear as fashion statements in their rawest form to something beautiful and more like works of art. Hired by V, one of the leading pharma companies in London, his move is mostly congratulated by his friends and colleagues, all except for Dee who feels he's selling out and plots revenge after she accidentally contracts one of his designer viruses. She's determined to bring down Kester, the company and everything he's ever worked for.

The world Smith builds is complex and interesting, and very different from our own world where viruses are looked at as something that should be treated quickly and hidden away. In this futuristic London, it's seen as something desirable and only those running in the most exclusive circles can hope to catch the right one that could potentially catapult their career. Smith puts a whole new spin on the phrase 'sleeping your way to the top' and she does it in a way that is fascinating, engaging, and well written. Though not for the faint of heart, Sequela (which means the long term effect of a disease) is a totally unique novel and Kester is the perfect, bumbling, scruffy, yet likable character to lead us through such an engrossing world.

Suzanne Cowles

Sequela by Cleland Smith is a promiscuous romp into the dark future of gated-city London as fashion hungry people clamor for the latest viral infection in the year 2080. If it sounds like a unique sci-fi premise, it is. Why would normal people want to contract disease through sex and exhibit the symptoms as a status symbol? Because in Smith’s alter world, it is the latest trend. Though there are unanswered questions that the logical reader will raise, the novel is fresh enough to suspend disbelief. Follow Dr. Lowe as he claws up the corporate ladder, screws people and screws them over, and creates some wacky black-ops viruses cloaked by nanotechnology. There is plenty of good versus evil with the church fighting against a morally bankrupt corporate world of greed. Experience the highs and lows of a thrilling tale laced with physical coupling, sexual innuendo and people behaving badly.

Though the tone is somewhat cynical, the idea can be at times slightly humorous. It starts with a bang, as Lowe interviews for a private sector job where the conclusion defies sexual harassment laws. From that point on, it is a wild ride of strange perversion. In 25 chapters, Smith designs a well-crafted fictional world where the flawed characters interact in believable action. The writing style is cogent and easy to read, while the plot moves along with good pace. If you are looking for something different with a fraction of horror genre and can stomach nasty body sores and vomiting, then Sequela by Cleland Smith will surely please.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Sequela by Cleland Smith is a futuristic sci-fi novel of epic proportions. London 2080. Dr Kester Lowe is the focus of the fashion world – the viral fashion world. He creates designer sexually transmitted viruses and, to show her just what he can do, he gives one to Alexis Farrell. The result is a job heading up her viral design team at V, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. Farrell wants to put Kester on a pedestal but there are those who don’t have the same view. People who are offended at what Kester does, people he has betrayed in the past. Kester is not short of enemies and they are coming to get him, to take him out and put the world back on an even keel.

Sequela is Cleland Smith’s first novel and what a novel! I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, although it isn’t for anyone who might be the slightest bit offended by scenes of sex and use of bad language. Sequela is an amazing story, set in the future, and although it is about designer viruses, you can still draw the parallels with today’s world – the focus is still on celebrities and celebrity fashion, just a different type of fashion! Excellent story, well-crafted and the characters were pretty likeable too. It was difficult to see where it was going at first but, once I got into the story, that was it, I was held fast until the explosive ending. Expect a few twists and turns along the way and a bit of a roller-coaster ride.