Editorial Review: Ocellion: Future Visions by A.G. Russo
Ocellion: Future Visions, by A.G. Russo, is a military science fiction mystery. Before the novel opens, our entire world has barely survived repeated conflict, and the result is a world mostly under military control, but also including dangerous and lawless areas.
Russo's writing style is compelling, blending large and small conflicts as the wider world is shown to readers. The characters are developed and multi-dimensional, often with complicated relationships and loyalties. Ocellion: Future Visions successfully finds the balance between fast-paced courtroom discoveries and more introspective moments, revealing the characters’ backgrounds and motivations. This allows readers to delve deep into the complexities of the story's themes, without too much info-dumping needed to develop a believable dark future. The novel carefully blends elements from different genres to tell a cohesive story.
Our protagonist is an intelligent, dedicated military prosecutor, Annalisa Farrell, who is appearing before the beloved Judge Bennett McCrae in a dangerous and politically charged trial. Despite being a combat vet and hero, being academically successful and gifted, and having an impressive career, Annalisa is strongly disliked by many characters around her, who set out to make her life even more difficult. She’s not an unlikable character to the reader, though, which adds tension and curiosity to the story right from the start. She’s also a survivor of abandonment, homelessness, and child abuse, although she managed to perform well in school and have a successful career despite growing up in the tunnels. This military trial eventually reveals Annalisa’s story as well as revealing secrets and lies around her.
A good science fiction story can use its speculative elements to reflect upon contemporary social issues and concerns, such as the impact of new technology or upcoming environmental challenges. Here, the storyline introduces thoughtful social commentary by bringing readers to a harsh, sci-fi world with clear certain similarities to our own. When readers see, for example, Annalisa mistreated by a judge whose role should be treating both sides equally, the novel invites questions about unfairness and who needs to work twice as hard for the same results in our own world. When readers discover the horrible conditions of the tunnels, where abandoned children try to survive a cruel world, questions are raised about homelessness, poverty, and cruelty in our societies. This shows the success of Russo’s worldbuilding and adds a lasting thought-provoking layer to the tense courtroom drama scenes.
Annalisa Farrell is a determined heroine working for justice in a harsh court system, with heavy criminal and personal penalties for failure. Russo creates a unique world with new, thought-provoking twists on familiar sci-fi elements. This book invites readers to think about justice and authority, all through a tense and readable courtroom drama in a dystopian future. Throughout this trial, different testimonies introduce new perspectives and different life experiences in this future world, which adds new details and dimensions to the worldbuilding. There’s an overall tension from the accounts of life under military control and a harsh justice system.
Ocellion: Future Visions successfully combines elements of post-apocalyptic worldbuilding, military thrillers, and courtroom drama, in order to raise questions for the reader about social norms, the legal and justice system, and about the overall idea of justice. Readers who appreciate this critical exploration of sci-fi themes will enjoy the story of Ocellicon even more. This is a compelling sci-fi thriller in a dark but believable future world.