My introduction to sci-fi was The Muppet Show, Pigs in Space launching me into the genre. What followed were Star Wars and Buck Rogers – anything, really, with a John Williams or Queen soundtrack. I realize that doesn’t much whittle it down. Later in life, I became a Trekker, and still refuse to choose between Kirk and Picard.

More to the point, here’s what I like about Pedestal, Gareth Mitton’s first novel – futuristic, dystopian science fiction. Its courage. Courage in the story, the characters, and the courage it takes for a successful ad-man like Mitton to pursue his passion as a writer.

“Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke may have laid the foundation, but we’ll always need visionaries and creators – essential for the future. Gareth Mitton is both of these things.”

It’s said everyone has a novel in them. Few write them. And too many do write them if you ask me. But that’s not the case here. Pedestal is action-driven, occasionally dreamy, and distinctly readable. At times it feels like freshman work – not first-year university but a writer developing strengths – a bodybuilder with good tone but needing, perhaps, greater definition. Yet with this freshness comes enthusiasm, evident in the story’s solid composition, dialogue, scenes and flow. 

She gazed back, lips shaping into something hinting at a smile. Hair short, razored, encasing that perfect face like a halo.

Dani walked down the street. Which street, she couldn’t have told you. Where she was going, she didn’t really know.

A flicker and then dark, now pitch. The expanding pupil straining to see. And once again, silence.

Mitton’s imagined world is one of Alternative Immersive Environments or ALTs, where gaming is the new dependency, pushers and player-junkies, implanted bugs part of this future – grim but close to our own. I can’t help but think Blade Runner, although this is by no means derivative. Pedestal‘s story is unique, multifaceted with well developed plot.

Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke may have laid the foundation, but we’ll always need visionaries and creators – essential for the future. Gareth Mitton is both of these things. Whether that future is akin to the one in Pedestal, I couldn’t say. This is an admirable first novel, an innovative leap from the genre’s first-gen. My benchmark maybe Captain Link Hogthrob and Doctor Julius Strangepork, but with authors like Gareth Mitton, I’m eager to see what the future has in store.

About the Author: Born in Rochdale, England, Gareth Mitton is a lifelong writer and creator, now based in Moncton, New Brunswick. He is a published essayist, blogger and author, whose short story Watcher, a 2017 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story semi-finalist, was featured in the 2019 anthology, Dystopia from the Rock. Pedestal is his first novel.

About the Reviewer: Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Dromomania, and Allan’s Wishes. Bill’s work is published in North America, Europe and Asia. When not in a coffee house, library, studio, or on stage, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, making friends and having a laugh. https://www.amazon.com/author/billarnott_aps

Title: Pedestal
Author: Gareth Mitton
Distributor: Engen Books
ISBN: 9781989473481
Pgs: 278 pp
Paperback Price: $19.99 Kindle Price: $2.99

Bill Arnott

Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, and A Season on Vancouver Island. He’s been awarded at the ABF International Book Awards, Firebird Book Awards, Whistler Book Awards, received The Miramichi Reader’s Very Best Book Award for nonfiction, and for his expeditions Bill’s been granted a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, making music and friends.

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