Full-disclosure. Matt Wallace is a friend of mine. I think he’s a good enough writer than I asked him to critique ALGORITHM’s script, which he did. Because of that critique, ALGORITHM was made much better.
Okay, that’s out of the way. Now, on to the impression.
Matt Wallace is one of the few people who has a background in combat and who is an intellectual. He’s 6’4, and well over 200 pounds. I wouldn’t fight him on my best day. He used to teach police and military hand-to-hand combat. He’s also one of the most well-read people I know.
What’s more, he has a profoundly deep and feeling heart. He cries and is frustrated. He laughs and jokes. He has experienced and can articulate the full breadth of human emotions.
When he created the world of Slingers, he brings all that to bear. The fight scenes are among the best I’ve ever read. The sci-fi world is rich and his style gives visceral imagery that instantly drew me into the story.
But, it’s more than that.
I knew he had created something special when I read page 1. It’s a description of the world, how people are gathering, waiting at the most likely landing places for the slingers when they emerge from the only known stable wormhole. Then it segues into a description of the sky, how deeply azure, rich and full… and then the sentence stops. It doesn’t end. It just stops. Instead of continuing in what would otherwise be a tired repetitive, he wrote, “It’s blue.”
I had to set the book down and laugh, hard, for a while.
That statement, “It’s blue” instantly summarizes Slingers. It’s not cold or terse. It’s not laconic. It’s immersive. It’s a brutal world in the midst of crisis.
But that’s not why I love Slingers.
I love Slingers because it’s told from the perspective of someone who understands crisis, not as an abstract but as someone who feels the crisis, who has been there, in the pain and the struggle and the need for love and companionship. It’s about how it feels to need others to help form some kind of solidarity in a world that is unrestrained chaos and battle. it’s about how it would feel have that love ripped from you and how you find the strength to continue.
Slingers is beautifully written and is about characters that feel like people because they have heart and struggles and desires and hope and who fight with the most and last of their strength to see that hope fulfilled.
Just like Matt Wallace.