Note: spellings of characters and/or objects may be incorrect because audiobook was read.
Early Riser is a story that can trap your heart, especially if you listened to the audiobook as I did. It’s about new winter consul Charlie Worthing and his growing awareness of the political and survival realities of the winter, particularly Sector 12, in an alternative future Wales that read like a dystopian science fiction novel.
It’s not easy to pinpoint a single element that makes it so special. I loved the dialogue, accents, and narration that brought the personalities to life. Others’ judgemental view of Charlie Worthing was extremely humorous as he’s seen as a schoolboy in a grown-up job. What comes to my mind are his memories of him biting off someone’s ear who criticised his uneven face. The plot was fascinating, about dreams that drive people crazy in Sector 12 at a time when the ‘campaign for real sleep’ are seen, officially, as people whose dreaming has caused them to lose their mind in a world where the product Morphonox is used to suppress dreams to aid winter hibernation and stop ‘nightwalkers’.
There is a lot to take in, and the first several chapters may have your mind reeling with all the new terms and characters before you step into the story properly, which starts with the death of Logan who Charlie is blamed for because he was a novice and didn’t know what he was doing. The plot speaks for much of the science fiction terms. Campaign for real sleep is a political faction, dreamers are outcasts ‘hooked’ on the thought of dreaming to experience a better reality than the harsh winter, and nightwalkers have presumably lost their identities and roam about hoping to indulge in cannibalism. Hibertech is a suspicious corporation that redeploys these nightwalkers into employment, driving golf carts it seems.
When Charlie starts having his own dreams he knows he’s in trouble. Early Riser is one of my favourite science fiction stories of all time. It has streaks of originality in a fascinating and humorous plot where you can’t help but love the characters and the world. Extremely recommended!