By Mat Oliver
Special to The Free Press
---- — In a post-apocalyptical world where humanity is on the verge of extinction and the remaining survivors are hunted by a race of scythe-armed alien hunters, what new beginnings can possibly exist, especially for one who has become mostly machine?
In his first self-published novel, “Nascence,” by Minnesota State University graduate Clayton Oliver Rutschow takes readers on a journey with Ferroc, a sword- and pistol-wielding cyborg who is seeking Earth’s few human survivors from an alien apocalypse while defending himself from its remaining hunters. "Blessed" with nanobots, micro-robotic cells, metal-plate skin, a de-atomizing regeneration chamber, and his own human memories of a family life before Earth’s downfall, Ferroc is both a virtually immortal weapon and a conflicted soul who struggles daily with self-identification.
Able, and often forced, to process observational data at hyper speeds, each of his subroutines are met with the question of why he survived, what purpose he has left in the world, and why the aliens see him as enemy, enigma, and seemingly worthy of reverence. If a life of combat and self-contemplation were not troubling enough, Ferroc encounters a self-assured woman named Sasha and a host of other companions that prove to challenge his own identity and his newfound understanding of relationships when it becomes evident that he may be the key piece to a puzzle that could change the world forever.
Written in first-person, present-tense, the novel invites readers deep into the mind of Ferroc who must consider and calculate his every action to ensure his own survival and that of those around him, always against a backdrop of his attempt to evaluate his own existence. Utilizing his wealth of research into physics and sub-atomic particle interaction, Rutschow offers readers exciting combat scenes complete with an easily understood CPU-based perception and internal dialogue as well as technological adaptations that Ferroc can use to even the playing field. Traveling across a ruined American soil, readers will enjoy Ferroc’s internal journey as much as his external quest as he comes to understand what his life means to all the inhabitants of Earth, human and alien, alike.
Ferroc is a being with one foot in several different worlds -- man and machine, human and alien, protector and destroyer. Through his eyes, readers may question their own meanings of lifeand begin to truly appreciate the human condition and recognize what it means to be alive.
Rutschow said he looked to self-publishing as “it is a growing market with many big-name authors beginning to do so” thanks to wide interest in e-reading. Appreciative of the level of control he has over his own work, he also generated the cover art by his own hand. Currently working on the sequel to “Nascence,” he expressed gratitude for all the assistance he received during the writing and publishing process.
If You Go What Clayton Rutschow book signing for "Nascence" When 5-7 p.m. today Where Barnes and Noble in Mankato, 1850 Adams St.