Chion, by Darryl Sloan

Posted: February 4, 2009 in Science Fiction / SF
Tags: , , , , , ,

ChionThis was a book I ordered online directly from the author (and if I’m not mistaken, other than eBay, that’s the only place you can order it). It was shipped from Northern Ireland all the way to the good old US of A. I was surprised how quick the process really was.

Like my own story, this one was Self Published by the author. For some people this becomes an instant “poor quality” flag. To be fair, yes, anyone can Self Publish a story, and there are some really bad ones out there too. Just as, for those of you who have ever watched American Idol, you know that not everyone who thinks they can sing, really can. It is the same with writers, especially if they do not use a professional editor. However, this does not mean that there are no talented people who just wish to bypass the limitations of traditional publishing–just as it does not mean that some of those who audition for American Idol are not better singers than others who have contracts with RCA.

With Chion, let me say that this story makes many ‘traditionally published’ books I’ve read pale in comparison. I was so engrossed in the story that I read it in only two days, and for those of you who know me personally, that is quite a speedy accomplishment.

Story overview:

The name “chion” (pronounced kai-on) comes from an ancient Greek word, which means “like snow.” This is an appropriate name for the story, as one seemingly harmless day, something “like snow” covers the earth.

Fourteen-year-old Jamie Metcalfe hears distant screams coming from his follow Clounagh Junior High School’ers. When investigating the source of the alarm, Jamie pushes past a crowd and peers through doors leading to the outside of the school. To his amazement he sees seven kids lying in the snow. One might suppose that kids laying in snow is a common occurrence–as kids often love to play in it–but there was something definitely not right about it this time. Unable to pick themselves up, it was as if the snow was made from some kind of super-powerful apoxie; the second anything touched the white surface, it was instantly bonded. Unfortunately for one kid, who fell face first, the substance became the seal for his very last breath.

The school (and the county for that matter) is thrown into utter confusion. When food begins to run out and no rescue comes, tensions flare and people begin to turn against each other. However, Jamie Metcalfe comes up with a brilliant idea to get both him, and the girl he strongly cares for, out of the school and into a place of refuge.

My thoughts:

The writing is clear, easy to read, and flows smoothly. It captures the progress in a way that kept me constantly turning the page. I also had sympathy for the characters, and wanted to find out what happened to them. It’s an original story idea–which seems to be hard to find now-a-days–and has a good underlining message.

Things to consider:

This story is probably best targeted to the age of twelve and older, but is very clean, and could easily be read to children of a younger age, however some of the things that happen may be considered a little horrifying for some kids. I don’t remember any sexual references, cursing (if there was, it was minor) or “uncalled for” scenes of violence.

Opportunities for discussion:

This story is filled with a constant moral dilemma: how far do you go to save those you care about? The main character is faced with this problem as he passes by people who ask for his help, but he knows that if he does they will only destroy all of their chances for escape. In addition, there is a strong underline message of faith.

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