The Collective

180 years after the Second American War which saw the oppressed rise up in order to reclaim the land, Elwyn lives a peaceful and uneventful life with his family in Badfish Creek. Bored and ambitious, when an opportunity arises for Elwyn to leave his home to be educated by his uncle in the big city of Liberty, he jumps at the chance to gain a better life for himself. Leaving behind his best friend Whim, Elwyn soon learns that life in Liberty might not be all he dreamed. Meanwhile, mysterious automobiles have arrived in Badfish Creek, determined to cause havoc…

An intriguing début with an allegorical feel, the unique nature of this story gradually draws the reader in. It is interesting to read The Collective in the midst of a global climate crisis where two schools of thought exist; one of a desire to stop and make drastic changes in order to benefit the greater good, and another to willfully ignore and dismiss this attitude. With this in mind, while The Collective can be viewed as alternative history, it could also be seen as a potential dystopia.

Elwyn’s coming of age and the choices he makes between the tradition and progress that divide the worlds of Badfish Creek and Liberty make for a stark and thought-provoking read. Although there are times when perhaps the story would benefit from more clarity, overall this is an unusual narrative that questions the ways in which the past informs the future.