What do you get when you combine the political oppression of an Orwell novel with the escapist fantasy of a Tolkien book? You get Alan Fox’s The Seeker in Forever. Set in a dreamscape America, it tells the story of Miles Roark, a sidewinder, an outsider, trying to halt the rise of Cinjun Khan Smythe, who is on the brink of becoming the most powerful man in America.
Yet it is also a story about love, and the relationship between Miles and fellow outsider Daphne Fox is subtle yet strong. Due to this added dynamic, at times the characters play like love songs, and when they do, Fox’s writing takes the reader to a place that is otherworldly, ethereal.
Rather than taking on an ‘us versus them’ theme, The Seeker in Forever is ‘insider versus outsider’, and so will still be relevant and identifiable no matter what decade, century, or country we are living in. Many of the acts in the story can in some way, however, subliminally and tenuously, be linked to political events throughout history.
There is a fascinating scene in which Miles stands outside Cinjun’s office building, calmly talking to the passers-by about love, truth and freedom, something they will be denied by Cinjun. It is a ‘Sermon on the Mount’ without being preachy. Instead of having Miles arrested, or even acknowledging him, Cinjun simply ignores him.
This scene is a wonderful example of the two men’s characters: Cinjun the overconfident, untouchable politician; and Miles the charismatic, determined and persistent leader. It shows how secure Cinjun feels in his position that he does not have Miles arrested, that he does not see him as a threat; yet at the same time it seems contrary to the ethos of Cinjun’s policies.
Their final confrontation takes place inside a huge public arena, the Pleasuredome. Although far from being your average political debate, in some way it seemed to echo reality when Tony Blair took to the chair during the Iraq war enquiry, only without the epic majesty of the Pleasuredome battle.
The Seeker in Forever is a turbulent whirlwind of passion that takes the reader on a rollercoaster without a safety harness. Fox’s unique, beautiful and unforgettable manner of storytelling means that readers will need to be prepared for their minds to bend quite erratically if they are to fully comprehend and take pleasure in the experience.