Remnant is an anthology of three individual novellas, linked in theme. The novellas reside on the border of speculative fiction and science fiction. Remnant is Roland Allnach's debut publication in book form.
"When all that's left is broken, which piece do you pick up first?"
So the question stands, and seeks fulfillment - a path reaching from the shores of a doomed paradise, through an illusory reality, and ending in a devastated future. Remnant, a collection of three novellas, is both the sum of these tales and the element that binds them together.
Remnant consists of the following novellas:
In "All the Fallen Angels", a convicted war criminal attempts to make peace with his past. In "Enemy, I Know You Not," a military officer that was captured and tortured tries to find his loyalty in an abyss of suspected betrayals. Last, in "Remnant", a survivor of a global pandemic is confronted with the prospect of making peace with his memories when other survivors attempt to bring him back from self-imposed isolation.
To get a taste of Remnant, review the excerpts below. There is also an expanded author's discussion regarding the novellas and the anthology in whole at the author's website, www.rolandallnach.com.
Remnant is pending for several critical reviews, which will be posted here as they become available. A summary of completed reviews follows, and to date, critical review has been very positive.
There is also interview with Roland at Bestsellersworld.com. As more reviews come in they will be posted here in full.
In summary: 5 star review: Bestsellersworld.com 5 star review: SanFranciscoBookReview.com 5 star review: RebeccasReads.com
Feathered Quill: read the review at www.featheredquill.com (to be posted and star-rated soon at Amazon.com). Here's the capsule excerpt:
Quill Says: An interesting read. "Remnant," especially, is one story that all individuals should read and strive to understand.
Foreword Clarion reviews calls Remnant "a nearly perfect gem of sci-fi," and states, "With Remnant, Roland Allnach presents three novellas that promise to haunt the reader long after the cover is closed."
Reader Views says of Remnant: "Allnach's writing in "Remnant: An Anthology" is haunting, begging for an interactive response from the reader in an honest self appraisal; asking the 'what if' questions created by identifying with the protagonist in well written literature. Roland Allnach is destined to become recognized for his contributions in whatever genre of writing he may choose."
** Finalist, Science Fiction, 2011 National Indie Excellence Awards** Bronze Medalist, Science Fiction, 2012 Readers Favorite Book of the Year Awards**Award Winner--Finalist, Science Fiction, 2012 USA Book News Best Book Awards
From the opening of "All the Fallen Angels":
...there she stands, among the whispers of ruin, caught between so much anger and hurt and betrayal. So dark, that night: the whisper of the wind, the patter of the rain, the steam of humid air; it had the feel of dissolution, of tears and loss and futility. And there she stands among it all, among the whispers, dehumanized, for what is her life- any life- but the lost murmur of whispers in the dark?
She was only nine. I shot her anyway.
The nightmare snapped away as it always did, stunning the mind of the man that had been held in its sway. He rose up in bed--not bolting, but more a slow, steady bend at the waist to sit upright, like some undead creature of old. The comparison, he thought distantly, was not all that off the mark.
From "Enemy, I Know You Not":
"If you think about it, I mean really think about it," Patrone began, "you could take all of society, all authority, and just say it's one big game of lies and deception to keep people in check. People only believe you're in control if you manufacture enough of an image to convince them you're in control...I've been thinking, taking a more philosophical look at things. Think of society as a body, a body that fights infection. These worlds we go to, these suppression campaigns, you would think that we're the immune system of that body, putting down the infection of insurrection. But wherever we go, things get worse. So in some way, you could almost say we were the infection, and maybe all this, all this going on, is just some way for society to get rid of the current order, that the current order, the order we impose, is not an infection, but a tumor, a part of the body turned against itself. Evolution or revolution; if you're in the middle of something, can you really tell them apart?"
From the opening of "Remnant":
Once upon a dream I had a life, and even though that dream came to an end, my life did not. My life simply changed, began anew, and as what, I have yet to decide, for in the absence of all that was, in the absence of all restraint, I may be something that was only a whisper in me before the change. And the change was the passing of the world, the passing of the world under the shadow of a nameless thief in the night, and it cared not for what waste it sowed in the lives of those it left.
Professional Reviews 'Remnant' is irresistable SF fun!
Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb, www.bestsellersworld.com
One of science fiction’s most outstanding rising stars, the talented author Roland Allnach, has an anthology of three creative and brilliant novellas out now, Remnant, that should be a hit with anyone who loves science fiction, in general, and the Military SF genre in particular. He’s already had one of his short stories nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and he’s had several of them appear in various publications. Remnant’s three novellas, “All the Fallen Angels,” “Enemy, I Know You Not,” and “Remnant,” mark a distinct growth for the author, and each are gems of suspense and craftmanship that will keep you on the edge of your seat. They’re all great stories on their own merits, but collected together in the pages of this anthology, they make for a must-read volume. In this review, I’ll briefly discuss each of the three novellas that make up Remnant and get into some of the reasons I think each one is worth reading, and why the name of Roland Allnach is rapidly garnishing the attention of science fiction fans around the world.
“All the Fallen Angels,”starts off the anthology with a bang. Captain Stohko Jansing (he was a Colonel and is referred to as such in scenes from his past in the short story) has had a history that was both distinguished and infamous, in turn. He is haunted by his memories of what happened to him on the beautiful and spell-binding planet Hermium, how he went from being a peacekeeper to a killer, and his and his wife’s desires to have children. Stohko discovers he can’t escape his past, and having been put on trial for his war-crimes, including shooting and killing a nine-year-old girl.
He is the captain of his own ship, trying to leave his past behind him, but he’s drawn back into dealing with the military when an IS agent, Colonel Osler, makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Stohko’s ship will be repaired, and his mounting debts paid off, if he will agree to towing a ship, the Chyrsopoeia, to Hermium to dump it off there. It’s a high-risk transport–Stohko is not told what is inside the ship, but it seems that whatever it is makes the job one no one else wants to take. It’s a cursed ship, that even its rats abandoned. But, can he and his crew make it to Hermium, without an effect known as Hermium euphoria driving them to actions they wouldn’t ordinarily commit?
“Enemy, I Know You Not,” is an excellent story about what happens when one’s enemies can attack you, even in the realm of virtual reality, within one’s own mind, and transform people who are seemingly your allies into your enemies. What can you do to fight an enemy who knows how to infiltrate your mind, and make you into a mole, ready to turn against and kill people on your own side? And, when you realize that it might be yourself who is the traitorous mole, acting against your own will, can you live with the guilt? When virtual reality becomes actual reality, and your actions cause your fellow soldiers to die, is there any way to right the wrongs you’ve committed?
That’s the basic premise of “Enemy, I Know You Not.” Training Officer Sheffield has got some “new meat,” trainees who are inexperienced, to replace those Sergeant Ellister and Lieutenant Hovland lost in their mission to end an insurgency that took place on the planet Tropico. Before the new soldiers engage in battle, they have to undergo a virtual training exercise, or “sim run”. They are linked up together, and while unconscious, engage the enemy in a training exercise. They can be “killed,” but as long as they are awakened in time, they will return back to life. But, if too much time elapses, they cannot be brought back, and they will die in reality. This is a very cool story, and I liked reading about what happens when the men finally realize they have a traitor in their midst, and wonder who it is, and paranoia strikes a chord of fear in them.
The final tale in the trilogy, the title story, “Remnant,” is a suspenseful, page-turning conclusion to the anthology. It’s about what happens when a terrible plague hits the Earth, and kills billions of people. Only one in fifty thousand are left alive, those who have a natural immunity. This story is about how one of humanity’s “remnants,” a man known in it as Peter, tries to survive and start a new life for himself in Connecticut. Pockets of the survivors have gathered together, for basic protection and to better obtain the necessities of life, like food, shelter, and clothing for everyone. But, this also means living under the rules of the community, and giving up a part of one’s freedom. Will the plague prove to be a chance for mankind’s remnants to create a better world for themselves, or will it only result in a return to how they were prior to the plague?
Peter (teamed up with another survivor, Jim MacPherson) rescues a woman, Emily Lewis, from a man who has been chasing after her for two days. The man claims to be a cop, but Peter believes he’s been trying to catch Emily for other reasons, so he shoots and kills the man. Peter rationalizes that if he hadn’t killed the man, he would have come back, and tried to kill them. Will he find love with Emily, or is she just using him, trying to recruit him to her point of view? This concluding story is probably my favorite of the three. Each deals with the decisions we sometimes have to face, and how are lives, and those of others, is effected by them. Do our choices, like those of Peter’s in “Remnant,” make us “more human,” or “less human”?
Remnant is an action-packed anthology of Military SF, with the title story dealing with how mankind’s remnants survive after a global plague. Each of the three novellas is a beautifully crafted gem of a story, making the collection one I would highly recommend to any fans of science fiction. Roland Allnach is an author who is one of SF’s rising stars, and if you like Military SF, this is an anthology you’ll definitely want to check out!
Get Ready to Enjoy...ON THREE!
- by San Francisco Book Review
When humans finally visit a far-off world, there will be no escape from our basic traits. No matter what the future holds, jealousy, trust and greed will always be with us, and Roland Allnach knows this. In the debut book, //Remnant: An Anthology//, he brings us thoughtful tales of conflict and the folly of being human. The book is the combination of three short tales, "All the Fallen Angels," "Enemy, I Know You Not" and "Remnant."
While the three are set in different places, all carry on a continuing message--a message that the past will always affect our future. The relatable themes also make reading the book a personal journey of the human condition. It is hard not to read it and think, "If I was in Peter's place, what would I do?" I also enjoyed the use of exploring the concept of what makes us human. Many of the stories deal with the issue of the "natural state" and how memory makes us who we are--issues that can only be truly explored in the science fiction genre.
Out of the three short stories, "Remnant" left a huge impression on me. The story revolves around survivors of a devastating plague. The dynamics of the world and the philosophical subject matter explored was outstanding. It was chilling how real the characters felt and how naturally the plot progressed. It was like reading the diary of a survivor, and it was very intimate. I liked it so much that I hope the world of "Remnant" will be revisited sometime in the future. Allnach's writing style can be described as smart, elegant, and addicting, and you will find yourself deep into the story before you know it. "Remnant: An Anthology" is an accomplishment of a book for both die-hard fans and those new to science fiction genre.
Intriguing science fiction
Reviewed by Kam Aures for RebeccasReads (05/11)
Roland Allnach's "Remnant: An Anthology" is a collection of three different science fiction novellas: "All the Fallen Angels," Enemy, I Know You Not," and "Remnant."
"...there she stands, among the whispers of ruin, caught between so much anger and hurt and betrayal. So dark, that night: the whisper of the wind, the patter of the rain, the steam of humid air; it had the feel of dissolution, of tears and loss and futility. And there she stands among it all, among the whispers, dehumanized, for what is her life- any life- but the lost murmur of whispers in the dark?
She was only nine. I shot her anyway."
So begins the first novella in the anthology, "All the Fallen Angels." This is the longest of the three stories at ninety-seven pages, but don't let the short length fool you. Each of the stories packs a big punch. I enjoyed Allnach's writing style, particularly in this first tale. He doesn't just lay out all of the information up front in his writing; he gradually divulges detail by detail until all of the pieces fit together and the story is complete.
I found it interesting that he chose his title story, "Remnant," to put as the last story in the anthology. "Remnant" focuses on the remaining survivors after a plague sweeps through. Of the three works in the book this was my favorite, but it was also one of the shortest in length. I wish it would have been longer as it was truly an intriguing story. I would have loved to see a full length novel made out of this one story.
I believe that "Remnant: An Anthology" will appeal to those who enjoy science fiction novels, particularly military science fiction. Allnach's intelligent writing style is quite appealing and I expect we will see more from him in the future.