Frank Tayell – Work. Rest. Repeat.

Finished this just the other night, and went to tweet its completion from my Kindle, only to discover that an ultra-rare Kindle crash a few days previously had irrevocably borked its settings and wifi wouldn’t work any more all. I don’t blame this book however! I read it in about a week which is pretty good going for me as a at-bedtime-and-occasional-snatched-five-mins-during-the-day-to-chill sort of reader and such pace is a strong indication of something I enjoyed! Oh and in case a similar Kindle problem ever happens to you, a factory reset sorted everything out.

I read all the books in Frank Tayell‘s Surviving The Evacation series a few months back (and will post about them too sometime), and so picked this one simply by association even though it’s not related to that series. Helps that it falls squarely into one of my preferred genres of possible post-apocalyptic dystopian futures. On the basis that I’m recommending that people read it, I’m not going to write some long spoiler review, but here’s a bit about why I liked it …

Work. Rest. Repeat. is set in a post-apocalyptic future following some undescribed “Great Disaster”. If you’ve read Hugh Howey’s Wool Trilogy there’s a certain inverted similarity … in Wool humanity lives in deep many-levelled silos, and in Work. Rest. Repeat. they live in less than a handful of tall many-floored towers. The overriding focus of the remaining population is the completion of colony ships so that they can leave Earth for Mars and establish a fresh civilisation there. Whilst a few are sent out of the tower to the launch sites, often as punishment, most work in one of the three production shifts a day producing the parts required for the colony ships. When they’re not working, or sleeping in their daily assigned pods, they’re in the recreation room exercising to create the electricity needed in lieu of the solar energy now denied by the stormy world outside. Thus they live in a continuous cycle of servitude to the shared goal under the mantra that production must always come first. They’re watched by CCTV and monitored by their instrumented wristboards to ensure their compliance and efficiency, though there’s increasingly less “overhead” in terms of people in infrastructure roles and governance. Hence the protagonist, Ely, is the now only remaining Constable in one of the towers. There’s an upcoming election for the key role of councillor, with the victor expected to lead the workers on to Mars soon. Then two bodies are found, and Ely gets his first experience of what can only be murder. The only imaginable motive is sabotage with its measurable impact on production …

The book progresses nicely, being tightly written and striking the balance well between description versus over description (thus why I gave up after only one Harry Potter book since I hate over literal over long writing that leaves too little room for imagination). Ely begins to progress the case and discover the truth about the “world” he lives in. Everything is shaping up nicely. And then my only moan – we’re suddenly at a conclusion, and it’s slightly predictable and rather rushed. In most ways there’s a finality, but it is also slightly hanging perhaps ready for a “what happened next” sequel. That there is a clear principal conclusion does bring atomic satisfaction to the book though, so overall you don’t feel too cheated!