Last Rights (Paperback)
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781493575084, 578pp.
Publication Date: October 26, 2013
List Price: 21.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
In a near-future where debt is generationally inheritable, one's physical body is considered a viable commodity to be sold to the highest bidder: a sale where nothing is forbidden. The middle class is gone, and once myriad and prominent social programs are a laughable anachronism, long since abolished in their entirety. The rich are no longer satisfied with merely possessing wealth for a lifetime - they desire more, and to be permitted the ability to do more with it, without having to answer to anyone but themselves. The problem? Laws and social taboos, which have stood the test of societal time, prevent them from obtaining what they ultimately desire: immortality and Godhood. The Shinjimori Yakuza, Japan's well-connected and heavily-entrepreneurial crime syndicate, recognize the inherent value in exploiting the downtrodden masses to fulfill the needs of these wealthy few; fulfillment to heretofore unseen levels. Laws are manipulated, schemes are developed, plans are well-laid, and the Arcology system of entertainment & medical complexes are summarily established in a world well-modified into accepting them - regardless of how hedonistic or abhorrent the activities within their confines may become. It is with all of this in mind that we follow in the footsteps of an unlikely group of allied individuals, their lives having become strangely intertwined, as each struggles against a world drastically changed by the few, at the ultimate expense of the many; a world whose fundamental underpinnings are rocked to the foundations, as a core group of seventy-five of the wealthiest individuals play the final card in a game that only they have the means to play: mass-extermination and genocide in the interests of total world domination. In the end, it is up to our protagonists, aided by an Arcology-created, rogue, sentient AI, to curtail this rout of humanity. The question is: are they already too late?
About the Author
Heath D. Alberts is an author, editor, and blogger. He lives with his wife, Wanda, and his cat in Rockton, IL. 'Last Rights' is his second novel, and 'Terminal Beginning' is his first. The non-fiction book, 'Guerrilla Business', as well as two novellas - 'Deeper' & 'The Battery Man' are also available. "Alberts envisions a bleak future in which the rich may legally buy the poor like cattle. In 2068, life for average Americans has never been worse. Gun ownership is illegal, social safety nets are gone, and companies fire employees after a single offense. The desperate masses, in turn, can opt to sell themselves to facilities known as Arcologies. With large payments made to family members, individuals become the property of these towering structures, where, as 21st-century slaves, they exist and die at the pleasure of the superrich. Nothing is off-limits - sex, gladiatorial combat, organ donation, anything. Within the Shinu Arcology, near Chicago, lives a disparate group of enslaved people that includes Mitch, Lisa, Delano, Rick and Alex. Coping with their fates, they make heroic choices that help them succeed against the murderous Arcology. In an experiment, Mitch's consciousness is transferred into the facility's computer network. Elsewhere, Lisa is secretly sold as a fighter to a man named Malboq, from whom she learns that the Arcologies are run by the Shinjimori yakuza; he'd like her to help vanquish their global tyranny. But can this assortment of heroes foment revolution before the yakuza punish the rest of the world? Author Alberts brings tremendous energy, imagination and technological smarts to his sprawling narrative. He skilfully weaves multiple character threads into a robust, frightfully believable world. Readers will happily root for Alberts' heroes since the villainy is so starkly presented; for example, one of the prison guards reminds Lisa, "You do what we want, when we want it, and you don't ask questions. You're not a person anymore. You're a plaything; a pet." In general, however, Alberts often uses descriptions with three words when one will suffice, so some passages take on a sheen that might exhaust readers, as when "she could no longer contain her own emotions in full, as a wellspring of tears began to fill behind the ineffective levees of her eyelids." Nevertheless, this lurid, fascinating work will satisfy deep thinkers. A feverish, demanding story that's refreshingly new." - Kirkus Reviews