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Shadows Live Under Seashells by Allan J. Ashinoff

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The best of all possible worlds… At least that is what the progressives claimed when their hidden Administration finally bankrupted the national governments of Earth in the construction of huge Domes into which humanity was bottled up.  This is the world of 2084.  For about 60 years, everyone has known only a planned and monitored life of balanced nutrition, daily exercise, and public transportation within a sealed environment.  Travel is possible for those who are assigned to it.  Among them is Elliot Fintch: he has been assigned to Mars.

 

Fintch is an “eductor.”  Identified as a child as being capable of thought (COT), he has been cared for, groomed, educated, transitioned, and placed.  His assignments require the rare thinking that makes him valuable.  But no one is irreplaceable and Fintch must be careful always to avoid any statement of disloyalty. He could be trapped by a secret agent of the Administration. He could be turned in by a watchful citizen.  Nonetheless, he believes in his work because he knows nothing else.

 

He does not know that his wife was arrested for disloyalty while he was in the shower.  Swept from the kitchen, she was gone. He was told that she left.  Flexible in his thought patterns, Fintch adjusts to the new reality, though it leaves him unhappy.

 

His own problems must take second place (or less) to the challenge he has been given.  The Mars colony has been the site of gruesome, seemingly causeless murders.  The Administration is sending him because his special abilities for intuitive and insightful thinking are their hope.

 

From the huge complex of Domes that connect Phoenix with San Diego, by ship to Costa Rica, and underwater to Ecuador and then off-planet via Elevator, Elliot Fintch is confronted by people outside his experience.  For a man who has had superior access to mountains of information, he is woefully inexperienced.  All the people he knows are bureaucrats.  Now he has to deal with people who (however law-abiding they may seem or be) are different – different from him; different from each other.  But Fintch is intelligent and determined; and he never stops thinking.

 

This novel stands on its own; but it also rests on a set of short stories, Fallacies of Vision, set closer to our own time.  Both are available as Kindle downloads on Amazon.  (Shadows costs $4.99; Fallacies is 99 cents.)  Not a Kindle person myself, I found it easy to put the software on my Macintosh and enjoy the reads.  Ashinoff is clearly and consciously a political conservative.  (We met on the “Galt’s Gulch” website of the Atlas Shrugged movie producers.) The opening story in Fallacies of Vision, “Erosion” won him undeserved condemnation from the Southern Poverty Law Center.  

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