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Scream Angel by Douglas Smith

Scream Angel (2004)

by Douglas Smith

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This is the first short story by Douglas Smith. It was an interesting one; there are some cool concepts in here but the story gets a bit ambigous at points. Only half of the download is the story, the other half consists short excepts from a number Smith's other short story works.

Jason Trylayne has tried to escape his past. He was a Screamer, a soldier forced to take Scream. Scream makes all harsh emotions feel like estacy and allows the soldiers to committ terrible atrocities but not feel bad about it. Trylane has fled service after not being able to stand some of the atrocities he committed. He now runs a circus on an undesirable planet and harbors a number of orphans from the planets he had destroyed as a soldier. He is still addicted to Scream though and has an Angel who he is in love with to provide it for him. Now he has been found out and needs to decide what to do to protect his crazy little multi-species family.

This is a very creative book. The idea of a drug that allows humanity to committ horrible acts and feel good about doing is disturbing and interesting.

Trylane is a very interesting character. He is still addicted to Scream but is trying to atone for his past acts. In doing this he has amassed a number of strange entities from various planets and put them together in a circus. In a way he is both a hero for his work trying to save these few orphans and a villian for the previous acts he has committed on Scream.

Trylane's relationship with the female angel is also both interesting and disturbing all at once. He seems to love her but he is also addicted to what her body produces. This is complicated by the fact that the female angel is part of a brood pair and has an angel mate of sorts.

Parts of the story are a bit difficult to follow. There are a lot of characters introduced right off and I had some trouble keeping them straight. Parts of the story include flash backs that are a bit amibiguous making the story a bit hard to follow at points.

Overall I enjoyed this story. It was very creative and brings up some thoughtful (and disturbing) questions. Fans of science fiction or odd speculative fiction should give this a read for the novelty it presents. ( )
  krau0098 | Nov 4, 2011 |
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Think of human emotion as a geography, with peaks of pleasure and valleys of pain. Imagine a drug that flips the valleys and makes them peaks, too. You react now to an event based not on the pleasure or pain that it brings, but solely on the intensity of the emotion created. Pain brings pleasure, grief gives joy, horror renders ecstasy.

Now give this drug to a soldier. Tell them to kill. Not in the historically acceptable murder of war, but in a systematic corporate strategy--of xenocide.

They will kill. And they will revel in it.

Welcome to the world of Scream.

Jason Trelayne is a Screamer, a soldier forced to take part in the enslavement or death of entire races. But Trelayne falls in love with Philomela, a Scream Angel, an alien who produces the addictive drug. Does he love her for her beauty, for the drug she gives him, from guilt for what he has done to her people?

And does she love truly him as she swears? Or is he simply her only hope for freedom, for her and her entire race? Forced to choose between freedom and love, what will they do?
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