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The Meat Market

The Meat Market - James Chalk
The Meat Market is my introduction to cyber punk and I admit I didn't quite know what to expect when choosing to read this novel. The author promotes his novel as "pulp, cyberpunk, and a techno thriller...with an atheist protagonist, aka Jonathan Harkon. This novel is the first in the author's imaginary future known as the Great Solar Diaspora; a colonization of the solar system. A world where space colonization becomes a reality.

First of all, I am really impressed with Mr. Chalk's observations about the predictability and characterization of large scale space habitation.
Secondly, I was introduced to Jonathan Harkon in the author's short story, The Twelve Children of Christmas where Jonathan appeared to be a seemingly benign and lovable character with a "thousand watt smile" so I couldn't wait to read and find out how and why Jonathan was different from the endearing character in Mr. Chalk's Christmas story.

Although the substance of The Meat Market is significantly different from that of the author's short story, this book is very well written and Chalk's envisioned future and alternative world is realistically portrayed. Laws, rules, policies and practices governing accepted and unaccepted behaviors such as those described in vivid detail in this novel have permeated societies (and continue to do so in many) from the beginning of time in some form or another.

While this book is written for mature audiences (Mr. Chalk acknowledges this in his preface to the book), the issues and concepts presented will not be unfamiliar to the 'mature and sophisticated' reader. Repression and violence against women and children are common themes in many cultures today where many oppose and continue to fight against them.

I look forward to the evolution of Mr. Chalk's Diaspora in his next novel in the Jonathan Harkon series.