Title: The Dying Party
Author: Jeff R. Kelland
Genre: Science Fiction
The Dying Party by Jeff R. Kelland explores a near-future world when climate change has gone too far, and civilizations must grapple with the fallout. The novel follows two storylines: an everyday couple left behind on Earth, Donnie and Lizzie, and the wealthy and powerful Marshal Colbourne and his son, Alden, among the Chinese and other rich people who have escaped into a lunar colony. Not only are the devastating effects on our home explored, but the author also dives into the effect on society and the individual.
The novel opens in medias res as Donnie is doing lines of whatever drug he can find, and Lizzie is swearing at him. What feels like a day in the life of a messed-up couple soon unfolds as we realize Lizzie is about to have her dying party that day. The dying party is the author’s invention of a way for people to “go out in style” as the world crumbles—hence the title. As Donnie and Lizzie’s storyline advances, we keep wondering and hoping for a change in their fates.
The Dying Party is a frighteningly realistic science fiction novel because it takes place within mere decades of present day, and the events that could possibly unfold. Kelland has clearly done significant research for this book, and his sobering descriptions serve as the backdrop for the backstory and the unfolding of the narrative.
We might be inclined to only focus on the physical changes on the earth when we think about climate change, but Kelland isn’t afraid to go deep into the human psyche. Recent events, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, have shown how brutal humanity can be toward others, and we don’t have to go far back in recent history to see many of the twentieth-century genocides from ruling powers. In The Dying Party, China is the supreme world power, and in no uncertain terms, the West’s hands are tied and forced to obey.
Stories that don’t shy away from the darkness of humanity, yet still manage to shine the light in the darkness, stay with a person. When all hope seems lost and the inevitable outcome is humanity’s self-destruction, how can there be any semblance of goodness? Kelland surprises the reader. When the influence of money and power and the savage fight to survive in a world that’s every man for himself are stripped away, we find that glimmer in the dark. When forced to face our own mortality, hope burns still because some choose to love, to celebrate every precious moment ticking down and to put aside petty differences.
Readers who may be of certain political groups may not care for some of the novel’s subject matter, but the author is fair with his approach to recent political and socio-economic events. Readers who are especially sensitive to certain subject matters, such as death and end-times destruction, may want to avoid reading The Dying Party.
The Dying Party is not an easy novel to read because of its subject matter, but it is a book that will remain in the reader’s mind long after because it is a worthwhile read. Kellard’s well-researched, realistic science fiction story is a sobering reminder to be a steward of what we have. At the end of the story, what is the end? Hope.
This Editorial Review was written by the Book Review Directory staff. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.