Getting to know Cale
by Patrick Edwards
He’s a recluse
Cale lives in splendid isolation on the wind-blown steppe: the nearest village is hours away by vehicle. For ten years, he’s lived in the broken shell of an old mining town, cutting monoliths from the sides of an open pit, which he then sculpts. His only contact with the outside is his seasonal, brief, supply drop. He fills his days with manual work: cutting, lifting, chiselling, polishing. The harder he works, the less he has to think. When the cold months come to the tundra, he has to stay indoors. That’s when the memories creep up on him.
He’s a widower
Every statue he carves is the face of the woman he lost to violence. Each one takes him about a year, and every time he gets a little closer to the essence of her, though the memories of his late wife are starting to fray around the edges. He keeps the books she loved and the paintings she’d smuggled from abroad hang on the walls of his home.
He’s estranged from his son
There’s an old bandothal – a musical instrument like a small sitar – leaning against the wall by his favourite chair. For most of the year it gathers dust but when the cold has him penned in he tries to play. The instrument is worn, but not by his fingers: he struggles to get a tune out of it. The bandothal belonged to his son who he’s not seen since before his wife died; it’s at once a reminder of happiness and regret, of watching a happy boy playing and of an angry young man walking out of his life. Cale often finds the bottle a better companion, but he keeps the instrument close by anyway.
He was a soldier
The regular, metronomic tick of Cale’s days is more than necessity – routine is part of who he’s always been. Ever since his youth in barracks, later in camps and field bases, he’s risen with the dawn. His bed is always made with precision – he barely thinks about it anymore, each automatic, neat fold coming from habit. When he has to tinker with machinery – like when he has to burn through permafrost to reach the stone beneath – he lays the components out in neat rows and cleans them one by one, like the parts of the many rifles he’s carried. Sometimes, when he dreams, it’s of hundreds of boots stamping in time and the smell of gunpowder on foggy mornings.
Has did something he regrets
There’s plenty Cale would rather forget from his chequered past, but there’s one incident that haunts him more than the rest, a memory of murder. It was buried deep for long time but now it’s surfaced, making his dreams nightmares and bleeding into his days.
About the Author
I started a sci-fi novel at school, but never finished it. I wrote some moody poetry when I lived in Paris; I blame the wine. I finally got serious about it in 2015 and now I don’t want to do anything else.
I like martial arts, space flight and sour beer. If they need a writer to go to Mars, I’m there (might be some competition).
About the Book
by Patrick Edwards
A moving and powerful science fiction novel with themes of love, revenge, and identity. A story about humanity, and the universal search to find salvation in the face of insurmountable odds.
An old soldier in exile embarks on a desperate journey to find his dying son.
A young woman trapped in an abusive marriage with a government official finds hope in an illicit love.
A female scientist uncovers a mysterious technology that reveals that her world is more fragile than she believed.
Ruin's Wake imagines a world ruled by a totalitarian government, where history has been erased and individual identity is replaced by the machinations of the state. As the characters try to save what they hold most dear - in one case a dying son, in the other secret love - their fates converge to a shared destiny.