DUANTA BEADS by Jackson Cordd
Duanta Beads by Jackson Cordd
Gay Science Fiction
Reviewed by Cassie
Scientist Evan is one of a few remaining people in a shelter built to sustain life after a terrible event called The Bang devastated Earth. Determined to figure out a way to save humanity, Evan leaves the shelter to try to do research on the Common—humans who remained outside and adapted to the inhospitable environment. On his first trip out, Evan is caught in an animal trap set by one of the Common. Evan is forced to ask the Common to help him. The Common, Rourke, looks very different than Evan, but he is able to speak some English. He also allows Evan to take samples from him. Intrigued, Evan agrees to return and visit Rourke the next night. One return visit soon turns into more. Can there be any future between a scientist who can’t live outside his shelter and a man who can’t live inside it?
Duanta Beads takes a fresh look at the concept of Earth after an apocalyptic event. The scientists in the shelters are the ones who are dying out, killed by disease, lack of genetic variety, and other factors. Evan is a very intelligent man. The people in his shelter have figured out a way to extend their lives for hundreds of years, yet they can’t figure out how to stop themselves from dying out. They also hold prejudices against the people who chose to remain outside, believing them to have gone feral and perhaps even devolved away from their humanity. Evan quickly finds out this isn’t the case at all, when he actually interacts with one of the Common. Even so, his first instinct when he begins to care for Rourke is to figure out how Rourke could come and live in the shelter with him.
I was intrigued by the idea of the Common, humans who have adapted to the harsh sun by growing hair all over their bodies. A hair-covered hero is different, and a little odd, but it worked here with Rourke. While Rourke’s language is awkward, and his people have turned to a tribal structure to survive, he is clearly an intelligent and thoughtful man. Family and his tribe are very important to him. Unlike Evan, he is able to show affection and looks at things differently.
The apocalypse is long over. All that remains is for what’s left of humanity to move on, which Evan’s people have not done. If Rourke and Evan can find common ground, there may be hope for everyone. The coming together of two different men, and two different mindsets, makes up the bulk of the story of Duanta Beads. I really enjoyed the unusual setting and characters. There’s not a lot of drama or wild action scenes, yet I was engaged the whole time. If you’re a fan of futuristic or post-apocalyptic tales, or just in the mood for something a bit different, pick up Duanta Beads.