“Homefront” by Scott Magner

This was an interesting read. I definitely enjoyed the plot, although I was not as big a fan of the characters. They were interesting and showed a lot of depth, but there were times when I felt like their ages didn’t match their actions or actions to their personalities. I was more a fan of the story’s conflict because it showed a lot of complexity, where a lot of the resounding effects wouldn’t have happened without some initial planning.

SPOILER ALERT: This post discusses plot, which gives away a major portion of the book.

Magner has created two sides in this story: the humans and the gennies (transgenic virus victims/mutants). And for the first chapter, we start out in the perspective of the gennies, particularly Jantine:

“I state now for the record that my actions are mine and mine alone. I hereby declare myself free of the tyranny of the Outer Colonies…I commandeered the frighter Argo and killed its crew, appropriating its cargo of workers and colonists for my own use and freeing them from lives of genetic servitude.” (Magner 17)

Her purpose is to establish her team as a separate entity that no one can blame as they try “to establish a secure base, and cycle the sleepers as fast as possible” (28). They are currently sitting in space on a trajectory toward Earth, where, at the same time, Aloysius Martin’s human crew was hiding from the rest of the humanity. On page 62, we learn he is carrying a “still cooking” Alpha and would like to keep it to develop a vaccine for the virus for humans. But, since other people would prefer to kill the Alpha, he stole it and is now in hiding in space.

It is by pure coincidence that these two teams meet, which is an example of good planning. This story could have taken a completely different route. Magner could’ve followed their two separate plot lines as gennies try to establish a base and as Martin hides from the rest of the humans, but by developing separate goals and planning for an incidental meet up, the two stories merge for a single story line and give effect to the resulting conflicts that follow.

I found this entertaining because it’s true that accidents like this do happen. The gennies’ ship ended up hitting the hidden humans, and the humans, thinking they’re still being chased, fight back. The two fight each other for their individual imagined conflicts, never once stopping to identify what’s going on. This is a good example of an accidental, yet realistic, battle. They didn’t want to kill each other, but through the conflicts they each have imagined, they’re stuck defending themselves, not realizing the other is not out to kill them. It’s accidental warfare.

This is definitely a nice break from books where all war is on purpose and the story follows the two sides as they fight. I definitely appreciated the ‘accident’ factor here, which isn’t hard to replicate. It definitely takes a lot of planning in this case, such as each sides’ individual goals, why they’re on the run, why they can’t trust anyone, etc.

If you want to bring a little lift into your story, breaking from the usual routes, try to incorporate some accidents. Think about each situation’s realistic potential, and think about what would yield the most interesting results. (Warning: this will take some brainstorming and organization.)

Magner, Scott. Homefront. Puyallup, WA: Arche Press, 2014. Print.

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