Saturday 23 June 2018

Future Schism by Jeff W. Horton

schism: pronounced: s(k)izÉ™m

Noun: split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.

The year is 2076, the year of The Great Schism, the year the struggle between liberals and conservatives, the culture war, split America in two. It’s also the year the Second American Civil War began. By the time it’s over, the United States of America is no more, having been divided into two provinces.

Nearly a century later the Corporate Synod forces citizens in the Red Zone to accept mandatory genetic modifications. Some “mods” greatly enhance intelligence but strip people of their humanity. Other mods increase physical strength and stamina that make workers in the factories more productive but significantly decreases their lifespans. Meanwhile, The New Zion Church imprisons or executes anyone caught worshipping the God of the Christian or Jew, or anywhere other than the NZC.

In the Blue Zone, however, life is good; if you’re one of the very select few who are members of the elite Gentry Class. For the vast majority who are not, however, food is increasingly scarce, disease and starvation are rampant, and government slavery is spreading rapidly.

Daniel Washington leads the People of the Founders, the Red Zone resistance movement. At first, he works only to topple the corrupt Red Council and restore freedom in the Red Zone. After he meets Kayla Ross, however, leader of the Militiamen Freedom Fighters, the resistance movement against the Gentry in the Blue Zone, they join forces, and together they discover they can do far more together than falling in love, they can start a revolution. 

The Guru's Review: 

This novel took me completely by surprise. I was taken by the description and knew it would be an entertaining ride. But it ended up being more than that! This novel really packs a punch! It would make a great movie. I encourage Horton to promote this to those in Hollywood for this to be optioned for being made into such. 

I have said in a previous novel of Horton's that it was his best, but this novel surpasses that and is now his best! This does not read like a Horton novel of previous novels but that is not a negative criticism. It is quite a compliment as it shows Horton has improved his craft as a novelist. He has really come into his own with this one and increased his versatility.

Horton has used this novel to send a message as to what could happen if the current deconstruction of the social ideologies of our society, in the case The United States of America, are allowed to progress unchecked and unchallenged. Seeing the progression of how the USA in the novel was separated into two regions both vastly different from each other and both evolved into corrupt, dictatorships with inhumane policies and policing leading to abuse of the masses and their oppression while the governments in both zones live in wealth and privileged lives. While reading this novel, I cannot ignore the reality that the seeds of this is now happening in society, especially in America. This novel is a sobering account of the progression of these seeds of unrest and deconstruction and taking one full century for the country to realise the error of their ways and to have the country rebuilt into a New United States of America based on America's original Founding Fathers. Not surprising that the only way for this to happen is, as history has repeatedly shown, that people have to take action, form a Resistance and start a revolution to overthrow the corrupt governing bodies and take back what is rightfully theirs, their freedom.

It is this that the novel is structured and forms the basis of all the action and depiction of its themes. I was totally enthralled by this and to quote a cliche, I could not put it down. It is here that you start to imagine this as a movie!

In any novel, it is essential that the characters are well developed, relational and believable. In the genre of this novel, it is even more important that this is the case. Horton excels here. I found myself endeared to Kayla and Daniel and empathised with them in their endeavours to command the Resistance while falling in love, establish their relationship and become parents. I must confess that as much as I love this novel, I spent the entire time tense as the speculative elements of its themes paint a picture of a bleak reality that would be our lives if this became real. It is a scary thought after a novel like this that shows the possible outcome of the seeds that are taking root in today's world!

When you read this novel, you will identify that Horton has not created this novel for just an entertaining read but one that shows his concern for the future of America and a deep patriotism. He is obviously very concerned about what he sees happening in America and this novel is his way of showing what is most likely one very plausible outcome if the rejection of religion and especially Christianity and other societal ideologies are deconstructed and abolished.

Perhaps his greatest solution is shown in the theme of returning to the reason America was founded in the first place and a return to its Judaeo-Christian roots and its Constitution. The way Horton does this and embeds it into the story is very clever. The speeches he has composed as spoken by Daniel, Kayla and especially Christian is brilliant and shows Horton's passion and love for his country and how founding a country on Biblical principles is guaranteed for safety, security and success/prosperity. Reading these speeches/narratives, I imagined that Horton could be quite successful as a speechwriter for politics or such. The speech at the end of the novel by Christian is the best out of all of them and is very inspiring. Surpasses the speech by actor Bill Pulman in the movie, Independence Day, not that you could possibly compare these two speeches!!!

Horton adeptly described the corruptness, greed and evilness of both governmental regimes (Red and Blue Zones) and it is this that contributed to the sense of unease and tenseness I experienced reading this throughout. He brings this evilness to a head when he describes the torture of Daniel. I cried at this but also tears of joy from the peace that surpasses all understanding that both Kayla and Daniel had from their relationship with God and their submission to Him, accepting His will for them. This peace is found in a prophecy delivered to Daniel through a dream/vision and which leads to both him and Kayla learning about the Gospel of Christ and accepting His gift of salvation. It is this vision that gives Daniel the instruction from God on how to overthrow this evil regime, which led to an action-packed and climactic finale, albeit a very satisfying one. This prophecy shows what can happen when we take on the mind and character of Christ (by submission to Him in obedience, allowing ourselves to be a vessel for the Spirit to act through our lives) and we accept with His peace what outcome He wants for us and for lives of those around us. In this novel, it not only meant for the overthrow of both evil regimes but it affected the populations of other countries. Even though the spiritual/Biblical/Christian elements in this novel are not extensive or frequent, they are there and form a solid undercurrent that guides the novel to its final outcome.

Horton has successfully crafted a novel that is relevant to the times we are living in now. He shows one possible result when countries dispose of/deny/eradicate God and everything He is and stands for in their countries and lives. This novel is Horton's alert/wake up call to his countrymen of what he is seeing happen to America's way of life. It is also an analogy of what could happen worldwide. He also shows the hope we have when we repent and are restored to a relationship with God, not only individually but collectively as a people and even as a Government.

Future Schism is Horton at his best. This is now one of my favourite novels and I look back with fondness at its entertainment value, cleverness in construction and the message it delivers about the hope of Christ within us when we take a stand for Him.

Highly recommended.

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