Irradiated is a novel about how far love and the need to survive will push people. Sometimes it makes them do terrible things, sometimes it spurns them into a charitable act they might not live to regret. Whatever the situation, Irradiated asks the reader questions. “How far would you go?” it queries. “Do you truly love your brother, your friend? Even at the brink of despair, will you push on, hatchet in hand?”
S. Elliot Brandis provides no easy answers or simple characterisations. The residents inhabiting his world are fully developed, each with their own desires and goals. Although I didn’t agree with all of them or their choices, I certainly understood their motivations and sympathised (as best as I could) with why they’d opted to travel that particular road. Simply put, Irradiated made me care. With sparse dialogue and well-developed set action pieces, I got to know everyone. Their hopes, dreams and fears. On that basis alone, I suggest picking up this novel.
However, there’s also S. Elliot Brandis’ way with English. It’s literary, yet also poetic. Every sentence falls into place, as if part of a magnificent tapestry drawn in constants and vowels. I didn’t struggle reading this work and often found it difficult to put down even though I had work the next morning.
Essentially, if you’re looking to be challenged, or for a different take on the science fiction genre, then I’d highly recommend Irradiated. It’s excellently written, flows beautifully and pulls you deep into the world created.