Author: Daniel Powell
Original language: English
Publisher: Distillations Press, Jacksonville, Florida, 2011
The year is 2209, and the hour has grown late for the human race. Famine and disease have drastically compounded the misery of a warming planet. With many billions scrambling after the Earth’s depleted resources, a multinational agency known as The Authority has instituted a population-control policy known simply as Labor.
In an effort to stem the tides of procreation and instill a measure of gender equality in the birthing process, men must survive a deadly twenty-four-hour gauntlet of chaos and destruction in order to earn the privilege to become fathers. The Authority regulates every aspect of the birthing process, from ensuring that male subjects abstain from alcohol and prescription drugs to delivering each man a quota of sleepless nights.
Such is the case for Bryan Norton, whose wife’s due date has just fallen into testing range. Very soon, they will experience the joy of the birth of their son. Norton has endured the year-long process of qualifying for Labor. He has sacrificed his health and comfort for the chance to become a father. But the greatest test still lies ahead, and the chances are slim that he’ll ever hold his son in his arms.
Daniel Powell’s new dystopic novelette “Survival” poses an enduring human question: How far would you go to be with your family?
Drawing upon influences as diverse as Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and Stephen King’s THE RUNNING MAN, “Survival” is a chilling narrative on the nature of parenthood in turbulent times.