The Armageddon Blues by Daniel Keys Moran
The Armageddon BluesJalian has been fascinated by the Big Road all her life. It is a left over remnant of a civilization that killed itself off with nuclear power – The Fire. Her Clan is special – their founder lived through radiation poisoning and now they have silver eyes and are very strong. In their matriarchal society Jalian is the daughter of one of the stronger women who later becomes an elder, Ralash.
Georges was born in the 1700’s and appears to be immortal. In World War I a German soldier cut off his head with the bayonet. Yet it reattaches itself. Soon Georges is fighting again with a slight scar to show where the bayonet had invaded his body. He is the antithesis of entropy.
Jalian’s community is part of First Contact from an alien race. Jalian is young enough she understands them and their language, becoming one of the first intepreters for the Corvichi spacetime gypsies. She develops a close friendship with them.
When that friendship is threatened, Jalian does the unexpected. She travels in time back to the 20th century, before the Fire and the Burn. She will attempt to prevent Armageddon from happening. The first person she allows herself to meet is Georges as he is traveling along the Big Road. They begin a companionship that combines to try to stop Armageddon.
I’m sure Daniel Keys Moran must have sat down and challenged himself. “How can I take the apocalypse, genetic mutation, time travel, and immortality and combine them together?” His result is The Armageddon Blues, an intriguing novel. But it’s hard to follow in the beginning. He jumps around to the different eras – early twentieth century, hundreds of years after Armageddon, and late twentieth century are the focus time periods. He jumps between the characters. The story doesn’t pull them all together until a third to half way through. It is rough getting started in the novel.
The Armageddon Blues is short but full of interesting ideas. It stays coherent once the reader has pulled the parts together in his or her head. Jalian is multi-faceted, keeping the reader guessing. While it’s not an easy read in the beginning, I was glad I stayed with it.