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Val Linn is currently rewriting and polishing the production of his last ten years, and has published the first novel of his Carlyntown trilogy, The Rainbow At Midnight. This story creates the post-apocalyptic world that the rest of his work takes place in, so is the natural place to start the publication of his work.
He went to college directly out of High School, and studied Religion, intending to become a Christian minister, then served in the Army for three years. He learned infantry squad battle tactics and then Intelligence functions, Special-Agenting in the C.I.C. (Counter Intelligence Corps. division of Army Intelligence). During those Army year, his first family broke up and the obstacles of pain and fear remained and had to be overcome before he could engage in life’s other battles. The family split gave him a natural sympathy for those left alone or abandoned in life. After the Military service, he used his experience to become a professional counselor, working for over twenty years to lesson the pain and struggle that people around him were fighting. His stories take seriously the obstacles his characters face, and show how those characters meet and overcome them to build satisfying and productive lives for themselves.
Val lives with his wife and a diverse array of other life forms on a small farm in the hills of Scappoose, Oregon.
on Nov. 29, 2012 :
SCAPPOOSE AUTHOR’S NEW NOVEL FEATURES HOME TOWN LOCALE: Longtime Resident Val Linn’s Science Fiction Saga Tags Local Landscapes for Adventure, by Rob Winike
The world renown British author Martin Amis speculates that we are “about eight Einsteins away from understanding how the universe works.” But, he theorizes, we may be only one war away from the great “Cosmic War” that will destroy all life as we know it.
Thankfully, we have science fiction authors like Val Linn to postulate whether that is so. In his new novel Rainbow at Midnight, Linn spins a rip-snorting yarn about a man on a quest to survive the “big nuclear bang” after being suspended in time cryogenically. His post-apocalyptic novel, the first his planned Caryltown Trilogy, can now be downloaded for multiple devices from Amazon, Barnesandnoble.com, kobobooks, SmashWords, and many more book sites.
Andy is a scientist who’d been duped by his nihilistic employer and frozen as solid as Han Solo in carbonite, while his wife and children were being stolen from him. Andy gets plopped 500 years hence in Linn’s own digs, Scappoose, Oregon. He finds himself in a terrifying world where primitive people live in feudal conditions. Slavery, brutality and superstition abound, and Andy has nothing but his wits to help him survive.
Linn’s own personal experience as a welder, steam fitter and tradesman, combined with his vast storehouse of knowledge and expertise in the arts of metallurgy provide a fascinating take on what could happen when a modern scientist shows up with knowledge but very limited tools. Andy’s heroic journey includes two hard-luck but savvy kids who risk everything to help him. With cunning, tenacity and a trunk load of “scientific magic” they forge a path through a tale of redemption that grabs at the heart and keeps the pages turning.
Lila is the young girl who, fraught with superstition but still indefatigably curious, is the first to find Andy emerging from his gleaming stainless steel chamber. Linn’s nuanced description captures the trauma and horror she feels when she sees his monstrous appearance for the first time: “Curled-up on the floor, jammed as far into the corner as she could get and shivering with terror, she squinted up at the dripping waist-high chest setting against the adjacent east wall…she flinched in horror as a trembling head emerged from the top of that container for human bones and awfulness. A shoulder followed, and then the creature's arm extended and its hand went to a pedestal covered with blinking lights, so close to her she could almost touch it. The creature's voice, weak and scratchy, did its best to yell over the noise, but the words it used were gibberish. A demon had come back to life, and it threw curses at her in an infernal language.”
Andy suffers from stasis after first emerging from the chamber, a condition sometimes used by science fiction writers to describe the hero’s emergence from suspended animation: stagnation in the follow of the fluids of the body. But the author also uses it as a metaphor, connotating what happens when someone is stuck in time while everything else is changing exponentially. Andy graduates backwards, from an advanced society that has self-destructed, to a dystopian society characterized by violence, oppression, disease and misery. Like Carson McCuller’s The Road, Linn’s story provides fertile post-apocalyptic soil. Andy realizes as soon as he is enslaved by local villagers that he can die in an instant, and his re-birth has made him as helpless as an infant.
In any good monomyth, the hero relies on helpers to enter an unknown world of strange events, and Andy’s “Gatekeepers” are Lila and Jock. With them he crosses into the field of adventure, where the rules and limits of life are not known. Poverty, cruelty and sexual exploitation haunt civilization in a similar manner as in Peter F. Hamilton’s The Night’s Dawn Trilogy. Ironically, it is the red hard-pan soil of Scappoose/Warren/South Columbia County hills, with its high iron content, that eventually brings Andy and his friends to freedom and success in Rainbow. He uses impressive demonstrations of science to make new friends, and then teaches them about forges and smelters, and the principles of casting. That leads to development of sophisticated weaponry needed to defeat their marauding enemies.
Teens will find the story appealing because Andy’s relies so heavily on a pair of feckless but brave youngsters whose own dismal lives become virtual acts of reclamation. Moral issues including slavery, greed and brutality are presented without bias, a good starting point for discussions of ethics, morality and religion with young adult readers.
Steve Perry, author of Windowpane and the Matador series, said of Linn’s first novel, "Well-executed and well-written, Val Linn's new novel takes you to strange and interesting places. It embodies elements of Twain's Connecticut Yankee and James Clavell's Shogun, with enough hard science fiction to satisfy readers looking for it. Fine work from a talented writer."
Linn plans on hosting readings and book signings in book stores throughout Portland and the Northwest. News and information can be obtained on his website, www.vallinnstories.com. For more information call 503-543-3242.
Rob Winike is an author living in Portland, Oregon, working on a novel for young adult readers titled The Laughing Wolf.
(reviewed the day of purchase)