“Robin Winter’s ‘Future Past’ is an original, meticulously crafted science fiction tale that blends the fantasy of Pinocchio and the hero’s journey with elements of time travel, redemption, and a post apocalyptic world that brings readers to a satisfying, yet unexpected conclusion.”- Matthew J. Pallamary
Release Date: April 2015
In the college town of Isla Vista, California, small, odd things start happening. Science-geek Nicole notes the crows are leaving. Meg Burdigal can’t find her tabby cat, Schrand. Brian the postman feels uneasy at the rustlings, the shadows he’s seen at the edge of his vision on his delivery route in town. Now Nicole sees fewer and fewer homeless in the park. Using her knowledge of biology and forensics, Nicole searches for answers—but will anyone take the horror she finds seriously?
The visual in a mystery /thriller
Usually the visible is the first thing that goes wrong.
It's a fine day deep into spring, a slight breeze stirring, the warmth of sunlight on your shoulders and head. You stand in your garden admiring your rosebush. You note a few swelling buds in carmine among the red new leaves, the larger green leaves soft and perfectly shaped, a few large blossoms breaking into scarlet.
But something moves among the branches and you stop, alert. Rigid. Transformed in an instant from relaxation and pleasure to wariness, touched by the chill of fear. Something feels wrong. Unnatural.
Now you see the motion of a branch low down, half-hidden in the foliage. It moves, not because of bird or breeze, but intentionally, stretching its leafy twigs as though they served as rubbery fingers. Reaching for your leg. Touching it.
Here is your moment of frozen disbelief. In that blink of not understanding, of questioning your eyes, you feel the horror of having one of your most reliable senses betray you.
I believe that betrayal is the true root of horror. We depend so much on sight to warn us of danger. To keep us from harm, from walking in front of a car, from tripping on the cat... Disruption of trust in our sight and its truthfulness terrifies, because how are we to know anything if our senses don't work?
We want that moment of appalled incredulity in our horror novels and our movies. When the ordinary turns untrue, when the perception of reality we rely upon betrays us. When vision turns against us, we become worse than blind. Like the woman in Wait Until Dark, we are left grasping at air, destabilized, panicked, threat fills the air directionless, pervasive. What we do then, what our characters do then, must break out in an entirely remade perception of what is real, and navigate that new world to safety.
Do you suppose that we love our horror because on some level we'd love to think that it prepares us for the real challenges that can arise in our lives? I have my suspicions that the enjoyment of horror, thriller, fantasy and science fiction have a real function supporting our survival and sanity. I know that at very bad moments in my real life when terrible things have happened, often involving the tearing of my presumptions about my reality, I felt buffered by the mythical references in my mind, centered by the fictional worlds of my reading and movie experience. I am grateful to all those myth-makers, authors, directors and movie teams who have given me the precursors by which to inform my reactions--and then, afterwards, reorient my sanity. I suspect we all owe them debts, right back to those first storytellers around a guttering fire in the threatening night
“Truly imaginative, unique, and gripping — I really really liked it! Robin Winter has a gift for inventing a world we’d be interested in saving, characters we’d be enriched to meet, and ideas about the human condition we’d be wise to ponder.”- John Foran
About the author:
Robin Winter first wrote and illustrated a manuscript on “Chickens and their Diseases” in second grade, continuing to both write and draw, ever since. Born in Nebraska, she’s lived in a variety of places: Nigeria, New Hampshire, upper New York state and now, California. She pursues a career in oil painting under the name of Robin Gowen, specializing in landscape. Her work can be viewed at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara or on-line at Exhibits
Robin is married to a paleobotanist, who corrects the science in both her paintings and her stories. She’s published science fiction short stories, a dystopian science fiction novel,Future Past, and Night Must Wait, a historical novel about the Nigerian Civil War.
You may contact Robin or read her blog or her website:
Thanks for taking part in the tour and hosting Robin!
Robin, this piece is brilliant. My wife loves the genre, and your points make absolute sense. As I read it, too, I thought of the times I've been in a near car accident. The road looked clear, and I started to move, a loud honk quickly had me adjust. Where did that car from? My sight betrayed me--mainly because I didn't want a car to be there, so there wasn't, even when there was.
Thank you for hosting my book on this blog-- it's a great opportunity to be partnered with such an array of fascinating books and authors!
And Christopher, thanks for your comment which I enjoy as an illustration of the horror we can all face in the passage of an ordinary day!
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