Ben H. Winters
Mulholland Books 2016
New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in LiteratureNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Science FictionNew Books Network September 13, 2017 James P. Stancil II
Underground Airlines (Mulholland Books, 2016) is a ground-breaking novel, a wickedly imaginative thriller, and a story of an America that is more like our own than we’d like to believe. In an alternative world, a gifted young black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshall Service. He’s got plenty of work.
This may sound like a story from the United States of today, but in this version of America, slavery continues in four states called the Hard Four. On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn’t right with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself.
Choosing to ignore his past, Victor suppresses his memories of his childhood on a plantation, and works to infiltrate the local cell of an abolitionist movement called the Underground Airlines. Tracking Jackdaw through the back rooms of churches, empty parking garages, hotels, and medical offices, Victor believes he’s hot on the trail. But his strange, increasingly uncanny pursuit is complicated by a boss who wont reveal the extraordinary stakes of Jackdaw’s case, as well as by a heartbreaking young woman and her child who may be Victor’s salvation. Victor himself may be the biggest obstacle of all though his true self remains buried, it threatens to surface.
Author Ben H. Winters, the author of nine novels, grew up in suburban Maryland and attended Washington University in St. Louis. Beyond Underground Airlines, his other works include the highly-regarded Last Policeman trilogy. Winters is the winner of numerous literary awards, including a NPR Best Book of 2013, the Philip K. Dick Award for Distinguished Science Fiction, and the Edgar Award. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife Diana, a law professor, and their three children.
James P. Stancil II is an educator, multimedia journalist, and writer. He is also the President and CEO of Intellect U Well, Inc. a Houston-area NGO dedicated to increasing the joy of reading and media literacy in young people. He can be reached most easily through his LinkedIn page or at [email protected].