Friday, May 2, 2014
Slingers Part 1 and 2 by Matt Wallace
If you like: gladiators * Alasdair Stuart * wormholes
For a limited time you can get Slingers: One Fall to Finish for free on Amazon. Or you can purchase both as a two book bundle from Matt Wallace himself. Look for the third book, Slingers: The Victim Hold to be released on May 7.
Slingers and Slingers: One Fall to Finish are the first two books in Matt Wallace’s Slingers series. After being unable to determine a purposeful use for a wormhole in Earth’s atmosphere, Sling City was created. Gladiators battle each other to stay safely in their sky arena and avoid falling into the wormhole, which will lead them to plummet to death on Earth. Complex social groups have developed around the teams of slingers, the slums of Sling City, and the people on the ground. Some enjoy the sport of watching someone fall, some enjoy the mysterious nature of the wormhole, and others just enjoy the raw spirit of the fight.
The teams of slingers form the deep bonds that are shared by many sports teams, but they rooted even deeper by the ever-present threat of death. These are not pro-wrestlers who get to go home and share a beer after the game. The end of the season means players are gone forever, and the loss of a loved teammate can horrible scar those who do not go over the edge. In Slingers, the teams bear a status that is a combination of pro-athlete, movie star, and celebrity. They are something like Katniss in The Hunger Games, without being coerced into what they do. These people enjoy the physicality and love the game. They are skilled warriors who have found a way to do what they love, and achieve a greater status by the near spiritual experience of physical combat. There is no rush greater than that of the moment before you step out onto the field. This is increased immeasurably by knowing that someone will not be walking back off at the end of the match.
Even though it is a series about space gladiators, Slingers does not shy away from delving into deeper issues. Wallace is not only able to make an engaging story fit into this short form, but also able to work in issues that are a part of life for many around the world today. There are those who exist in the much expected slums that have developed around Sling City. There is also a mafia reminiscent social structure running the underbelly of the city. The problems are not solely relegated to space. Back on the ground, the girls of Juarez are still disappearing. There is still poverty, and there are those who dream of a better life in the sky. The Reapers are also not without their own conflicts. They share the same number of interpersonal issues any group that lives together for an extended period will have. Though they are strongly bonded in their quest to win, it doesn’t mean there is not jealously and unrequited love between them. They live in a protected status, but this is not always a benefit. Being carefully guarded and protected also means reduced freedom of choice. They are not celebrities running from the paparazzi, but they do life a guarded life. This combination of glamorous space fighting mixed with real world tragedy makes Slingers go by all too quickly.
If you don’t want to fight anymore, read Slingers.
Wallace, Matt. Slingers. 2014. Mobi edition.
Wallace, Matt. Slingers: One Fall to Finish. 2014. Mobi edition.