From the publisher—
Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.
Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.
Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.
It’s just a test, right? A test that Carl has to take once a year, ordered by the Government, is intended to show that all is well with him, especially mentally, and the inkblots and questions could have many different answers, open to interpretation. Unfortunately for Carl, that interpretation bodes very ill for him and he’s soon living in his own personal nightmare. His flight from this new reality takes him straight to a truth no one wants to hear, that the government he thinks has his best interest at heart is actually focused entirely on controlling the humans that created it in the first place. It’s technology gone mad.
In an interesting stylistic approach, the author gives us Carl’s perspective and that of the different parts of the government. We see how those parts have become all-powerful and progressively more threatening without humans having any real understanding of what has happened.
There are alarming notes along the way such as “1984 Congressional hearing notes—Man does not have the right to develop his own mind” that gave this storyline an immediacy that heightened my discomfort, a feeling that the possibility of such a thing happening isn’t entirely remote. Offsetting this futuristic menace is the Roman Coliseum aspect in which rebels have to fight to the death while the crowd of citizens becomes more and more frenzied with bloodlust.
Although I enjoyed Interpretation on the whole, a few things did get in my way. There are occasional grammar and spelling missteps such as”Flexing his chest, a small crowd of women wooed in the mall’s entrance” and “lude” instead of “lewd”. An overabundance of odd phrases regarding smiles, such as “Dan pulled his lips up to his ears” and “a rubbery grin” and “smiled a rubbery grin” made me feel as though perhaps a writing habit of the author’s had escaped editorial notice. Still, despite these small annoyances, Mr. Callens has created an imaginative if fearful future that turned out to be a more than interesting read.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2017.