by S.L. Dunn
Publication date: July 31st 2014
by Prospect Hill Press
Category: New Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: eARC from publisher
Above a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.
Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem, Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.
Anthem’s Fall is a story about two worlds; one in present day New York and one set in the distant world of Anthem. Anthem is a world that is technologically superior and vastly stronger, but politically primitive in comparison to our world. I’m not even going to attempt to summarize the story here because there’s simply too much going on to do that effectively.
I am a huge fan of science fiction and comic book style writing. Anthem’s Fall, however, isn’t as much of a superhero themed story as I’d originally anticipated. Or perhaps just not in the same way I’m accustomed to. It’s an intelligently written story filled with vast amounts of action and science — a sci-fi lovers dream, right? For some… yes. I think a lot of people will fall in love with it. But I must tell you this is more Biology than Sci-Fi.
This is a comprehensive and very formally written story. I wanted the author to loosen up a bit. Use a contraction here and there. While I did enjoy the story, I also thought it was a bit too long and sometimes verbose. This is certainly not what I would consider an easy-breezy read. I was a bit surprised by the cliffhanger, too. I originally thought this was a stand alone book, but apparently there is more to come. Will I read it? Most likely. This debut author has a lot of talent.
I asked Mr. Dunn what his top ten favorite Superhero TV shows and/or movies were (past, present or upcoming) and why they made his list. Here’s what he had to say…
These are in no particular order, and if you think I’ve left a major one out, chime in! Here goes:
1) Batman Begins (2005) All three of the recent Batman movies were fantastic, but I thought Batman Begins was the best. It was a movie utterly devoted to character development, and you didn’t actually see Batman until well over forty minutes in—a tension tactic that few superhero movies employ.
2) Highlander (1986) Perhaps the most brazen, unabashed and original genre movie (and television show) in existence. If I had the opportunity to write the script of any remake—any remake—it would unquestionably be Highlander, though I don’t know if I’d be worthy of the charge. In the right hands, a redone Highlander could sweep the world by storm. I also grew up on Adrian Paul taking weekly heads on USA channel afternoon reruns, so I have to include the show too.
3) Heroes (Season one. 2006. Just season one) Heroes, to me, stands as proof that you can take an established premise and shift it in a totally different direction. When I first heard the premise for Heroes, I thought it sounded far too similar to a Marvel/DC world, but it ended up being fresh and entertaining. I never watched beyond season one, but that first season was remarkable.
4) Doctor Who (dawn of time—present) A character doesn’t need to wear a cape to be a superhero. Doctor Who is the grand pinnacle of whimsical sci-fi and fun storytelling. The show is like a laboratory of ideas unto itself. I love that the writers never get caught up in such silly notions as rules, logic or specific technologies.
5) X-Men Days of Future Past (2014) Maybe it’s simply the film of the franchise that’s freshest in my mind, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I’ve enjoyed all the X-men movies, but for some reason I was concerned Days of Future Past would set its ambitions too high. It didn’t, and I liked it. I suspect the title is a nod to The Once and Future King by T.H. White, which is another plus. Also, Magneto is my favorite character in the X-Men universe, and Fassbender/Mckellen each rock the role.
6) Thor (2011) Thor had big shoes to fill, as Superman had reigned unchallenged on the god-superhero front for decades on end. I think a lot of people were probably ready to rip on it. Front and center was Anthony Hopkins with a big staff and an eye patch after all. But it stood up to the critics.
7) Blade (1998) Blade’s a blast. If you haven’t watched it in the last decade it might be worth a re-watch. Stephen Dorff is an absolute riot, and the movie’s use of the F-word might be the funniest in film history. Whether intentional or not, some of the lines in the movie leave me dying with laughter, but not at all in a disparaging way.
8) Dragonball Z (Actually not sure on a year) Dragonball Z is such a unique story that I sometimes find myself in disbelief of its existence. It’s too grand a saga to only exist in a cartoon show and a movie that I won’t mention. In modern America, you either grew up on DBZ during weekday afternoons or you didn’t. There’s no middle ground—you either love it or you don’t get it. In my opinion the battles with Frieza and Cell are the apex of superhero fiction. Period. Nothing else even holds a candle. Vegeta’s my favorite character, if you were wondering.
9) Ironman (2008) I gripe sometimes about the “jokiness” of new superhero movies and how they end up more like comedies than action movies, but Robert Downey J killed it as Tony Stark. Ironman rocked, and it also melded remarkably well with a somewhat-realistic modern world.
10) V For Vendetta (2013). If this isn’t one of your favorite movies, we’re probably not going to be friends. A symbolic superhero (who speaks in literary dialogue) stands against a Nazi-esque totalitarian regime…what is there not to love? “Beneath this mask there is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof!” is one of my favorite lines of dialogue ever written.
My favorites out of Mr. Dunn’s list are: Blade, Thor, and Heroes!
I also have to add in Arrow, and my fingers are already
crossed for the upcoming CW series, Flash.
Which are your favorites? Leave a comment and let me know!
~About the Author~
S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series.
S.L. Dunn’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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