From the author—
World peace came with rules. We’ve just broken them.
In the year 2055, millions of humans were wiped out by a deadly virus known as EMB-II, a bioweapon strain of Ebola that could not be stopped. The need to get off the planet and into space was never stronger. Before the ships could be launched, First Contact was made. A dozen spaceships arrived, carrying twelve Criterion Advocates – peacekeepers of the universe – and thousands of Criterion soldiers, aides, workers, and engineers. To stop the virus getting into space, Earth was placed under quarantine and work begun to save the planet and humanity. Through tough control measures, world peace was achieved.
The year is now 2355. The virus is gone. Humanity is eager to get into space. Yet the Earth is still under quarantine. The Criterion are lying to us. What they don’t know is that we’re lying to them.
Kethryn Miller is an award-winning actress, but nothing will prepare her for the role she’ll take on when a strange woman who shouldn’t be alive turns up in the city, threatening to expose the lies that have kept peace on Earth for 200 years.
With shades of The Hunger Games—individual states, controlled by a central power—Ms. Richardson has come up with a nifty idea. Aliens saved what was left of humanity after a worldwide virus wiped out most of us and we accepted their help, having very little choice at that time. For 300 years since, humans have been living in quarantined colonies of a sort and have become accustomed to the twice-a-day reconnaisance by patrol ships that are manned by humans who work for the aliens. There are 100 states, each comprised of several cities, and people long ago became used to the aliens’ oversight, even population and resource control that are supposedly at the direction of mankind.
Now, though, some are beginning to question the status quo, especially since the Criterion have withheld the long-promised technology for space travel and their control of all aspects of human existence is wearing thin. At the same time, a woman destined to become president of her state has just learned something that could turn her entire life on its ear and alter the course of her state’s reality.
Told from several points of view, humans and aliens, the story moves along quickly as tension builds, leading to an unknown future, different from anything humans have experienced since the arrival of the Criterion. Short chapters keep the pace lively and I found myself reading faster and faster, eager to find out what would happen next. Now, I’m eagerly anticipating Book 2, Earth Arrested.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2018.
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An Excerpt from Earth Quarantined
Derek followed Aries out onto the balcony, biting down on the pain that raced up his leg from his ankle. Long periods of sitting aggravated his ailment, and today’s meeting had been long.
“I suspect I know what message your minister received,” said Aries. “I also suspect I know what you will ask, but the decision is out of my control. These are the laws that mankind created.”
Aries was always to the point, a trait Derek liked about her. It saved a lot of time, but it also reminded him that she wasn’t human. Some called the Criterion emotionless. Not true, he thought. They’d just had millennia to contain their emotions.
“You denied Justine’s application to have a child,” said Derek. “For the third time.”
“If she possesses an impure gene, she cannot have a child. That is the law.”
“She’s getting treatment for her condition. A treatment you recommended.”
Aries sighed. “These are human laws we uphold, not ours. Must I remind you that all the leaders sat around a table and decided which of their policies would save the human race. We are not the leaders of your world.”
“Some days I’m not so sure.”
She turned to face him. Her liquid eyes hardened as if they’d iced over. The tendrils on the back of her head lifted, which happened whenever she got angry. In twelve years, he’d gotten to know her well.
“When we arrived,” said Aries, in a self-righteous tone, “your species was dying, your planet destroyed, and while I place no faith in hope as a cure, is it not fair to say you had lost all hope?”
She gazed at him, seeking an answer, and as he stared into her face, he realized that she suddenly appeared old. And this realization made him feel old. They were both being replaced. Neither was ready for it. Both had work to finish. And nobody cared.
Derek sighed. “I don’t want to argue with you, but can’t you make an exception just this once? Show compassion. The ministers are your direct link to the citizens and they’d have a better time believing the Criterion are a compassionate race if you showed it. At least once in a century. If not for Justine, then do it for me. Think of it as my last request in my official capacity as President.”
Aries tilted her head. “Would you ask me to sit idly by while you returned your world to its ruined state? All it takes is one diseased gene and the chain is broken.”
“It’s just one act of kindness.”
Aries sighed. “I couldn’t unlock the fertility inhibitor chip even if I wanted to. It’s interfaced with the host’s body and designed not to activate in the presence of unhealthy genes. The Order Of Harmony hold the overriding codes, not me.”
“You’re the Order Of Harmony.”
“I am one member of a much larger organization.”
Derek paused. He’d always considered the residing advocates had the ability to unlock the fertility chips. If not, then who did?
About the Author
D L Richardson writes speculative fiction, which encompasses science fiction, light horror, supernatural fiction, and fantasy. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering in her yard waging war on weeds, watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix, playing her piano or guitar, curled up on the couch reading a book, or walking the dog.