“Outstanding. . . . It’s a fascinating future, and Jude’s personal story is involving.” —Rich Horton, Locus Magazine
Jude Plane is not your typical teenage boy, even among the other kids in his cloistered religious enclave. He belongs to the Machinist Guild, a group that forbids the use of any technology more advanced than a doorknob. But advanced technology can be hard to avoid when you live in an overlooked corner of Netherview Station—a giant wheel in space, twelve light-years from earth.
Jude wants to live an obedient life, whatever that means, but his resolve is put to the test when his abusive father sends him to work outside the enclave, unloading freight at the station’s hub. There Jude will make friends stranger than any he’s ever known, and will find himself confronted by choices he never imagined. But will he solve the biggest mystery of all—the mystery of who he is?
“An intelligent, well-crafted piece. . . . Shunn’s elaborate details about the religious rules and philosophies of this group form thought-provoking parallels with some of today’s fundamentalist religious groups. It would not surprise me if this tale eventually finds a place in someone’s year’s best science fiction anthology.” —Jeff Cates, Tangent
“A well-considered examination of a basic SF concern: the clash of differing technological levels, and how this (especially now) can cause the lower-tech culture to retreat into fundamentalism. . . . Shunn gets a lot of good satirical digs in, and a contemporary dilemma is penetratingly illuminated.” —Nick Gevers, Locus Magazine
Since his first publication in 1993, William Shunn's short fiction has appeared in Salon, Storyteller, Bloodstone Review, Newtown Literary, Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Science Fiction Age, Realms of Fantasy, Electric Velocipede, and various anthologies and year's-best collections. His essays have appeared in On Magazine and Sybil's Garage. His work has been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. His chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century appeared from Spilt Milk Press in 2007, and his novella Cast a Cold Eye, a collaboration with Derryl Murphy, from PS Publishing in 2009. Born in Los Angeles and raised in Utah, he now lives and writes in New York City.