Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
The Slummer: Quarters Till Death by Geoffrey Simpson is a compelling, futuristic novel that features a sport scarcely written about: running. Set in 2083, Benjamin Brandt is among those who live on the fringes of society. He belongs to the class of poor people commonly referred to as slummers. The social and economic gap between those of his world and the enhanced elite is enormous. They have nothing in common. Yet Ben is fascinated whenever he watches athletes who are genetically enhanced compete on the television. Instead of being intimidated, he feels inspired by the national track championship. He sets himself to work, determined to make a difference. He feels alive when he sucks in the damp air, running through the dark, uneven streets of Cleveland’s east side. In fact, running is the easiest part of his life, easier than tying laces. But what are his chances of winning against enhanced runners?
The Slummer is a gripping tale of courage, resilience, and grit; the story of one man’s desire to change the rules of the game and the status quo. The setting is a future world where those who are genetically enhanced live in affluence while millions suffer in poverty, laboring in the Industrial Valley. The story starts with vivid descriptions of the world of the protagonist, his emotions, and his worldview. The story is set in the future and in a world like ours. Geoffrey Simpson’s protagonist is a character of grit, someone who inspires readers to believe in their dreams and to stop at nothing. I found myself rooting for him from the very moment he was introduced into the story. The author describes his sporting activities with such clarity that the reader can see him in their mind’s eye. The elements of the setting, from the uninviting locales inhabited by the slummers to the social atmosphere, are brilliantly written. The prose is stellar, filled with terrific descriptions and strong imagery, and the plot so skillfully crafted that it transforms the tale into a page-turner.