Tim Major joined the Luna family in 2018. His first collection, And The House Lights Dim, became the 5th book to join the #Harvester series in 2019. We loved working together on this collection, a showcase of Tim's talent as an incredible storyteller, growing from strength to strength.
We were therefore, absolutely delighted to work together again in re-printing his YA SF novel, Machineries of Mercy, set in a dystopian UK where juvenile prison has been taken to a whole different level of reality. The book is currently in layout and will be released in Autumn 2020.
This also means that purchasing any other edition of the book will result in the author not receiving compensation, so please be mindful and look out for the Luna edition. Thanks!
Machineries of Mercy
In the idyllic village of Touchstone, the birds are singing and everyone is happy.
But Ethan knows it’s not real.
England may be ruined and plagued with riots, but Touchstone is more dangerous still.
Let's hear more about the book from the man himself:
"I suppose any novel is borne of the author’s question ‘What novel would I like to read myself?’ And, sensibly, any YA novel written by an adult is the result of the question ‘What would I have enjoyed reading at that age?’ So, my YA science fiction novel Machineries of Mercy draws upon a great deal of the fiction I devoured when I was a teen. The book is about teenage young offenders imprisoned in a virtual-reality English village, battling against one another and against malfunctioning artificial intelligences. Beyond this bucolic prison, Britain has been ruined beyond all recognition by rioting and corporate shenanigans.
So, sure, little of this premise is particularly cheerful! But back when I was in the process of discovering my love of reading, dystopian futures and killer authoritarian robots represented exactly the escapism I required. Such things provided a commentary on the wider world at the precise moment I began to understand my place in it, and satirised the more mundane authoritarian figures I encountered in everyday life.
Also, killer robots were really cool.
Looking again at Machineries of Mercy now, I see traces of so much that I loved when I was growing up and continue to love now: theme parks, open-world video games, cosy catastrophes, fictional havoc in idyllic locations. And it’s no coincidence that the virtual village in the novel is named Touchstone. The novel draws upon films that meant a lot to me: Tron, Battle Royale, Existenz and, particularly, Westworld. As a teenager, long before its celebrated revival as an HBO TV series, I watched Westworld endlessly, never tiring of it. The idea of a theme park attraction turning out to be deadly is potent enough, but add in a murderous robot cowboy and a final act in which said cowboy rampages through a reproduction of Ancient Rome… it’s heady stuff. Other key influences were from TV: Russell T Davies’ 1991 Children’s BBC serial Dark Season (in which schoolchildren are gifted computers that take over their minds) and the 1976 Doctor Who story ‘The Deadly Assassin’ (in which the Doctor battles for survival inside the Matrix, a virtual-reality nightmare landscape, and which features what I consider the most terrifying scenes in the entirety of Doctor Who).
I suppose all I’m saying is that I think I would have enjoyed reading Machineries of Mercy as a teen. And I certainly enjoyed writing it as an adult.
Machineries of Mercy was first published in late 2018, but took a strange path before and after publication. I’m very grateful to Luna Press for giving the novel a second life now that I’ve regained rights to its publication.
No matter your age, I hope you’ll enjoy reading it, too."