Word Wars takes place in a futuristic society where the written word has been banned by the government. The populace is forced to read the color bar language, and is subjected to the cruel and unusual punishments doled out by the Continental Security Agency. The agency is hiding a deep, dark secret that would change the technological base of the world. Mikus Markus and a ragtag bunch of rebels decide to escape across country, just ahead of pursuing “Slugs”, to find a 118-year-old African American man, who knows the secrets of the original written word that was lost so long ago
Chris gives an overview of the book:
They were Inspectors from the National Communications Commission. Slugs. There were eight of them and they looked ready to squabble. The first one up the ramp stepped onto the tram with a thud. The figure was Kevlar-encased from ankles to neck and wore captain’s bars. A bonnet and crash shield covered the neck and face. He slapped a red baton against his thigh in a staccato rhythm. The other Inspectors poured from behind to wedge themselves into the pedestrian crowd. One of them was a handler who had a giant Newfound tethered to his wrist. The dog’s giant face darted from side to side, looking for something to bite. From behind the face shield of the captain, a husky female voice pierced the veil of silence. “What in Opal City is going on here?” As was common with their ilk (bust one while asking the questions), a baton swooped into Mikus’s upturned face landing on his forehead with an audible pop. Someone on the tram shrieked, which only incensed the other Inspectors, who began to swipe their batons at random body parts. A baby screeched, Mikus unaware there was an infant in the crowd. He could hear Joanne’s voice. “How dare you! What is this about? You have no right.” Her protests were wrong on all counts; they always dared; everyone knew what it was about and they had every right. The captain giantess sidestepped and cracked Joanne in the shins. Mikus put his hands up but they were batted away. Several other blows hit solid bone targets, and out of the corner of a bleary eye Mikus watched the old Transit driver get shoved over the rail to fall 15 feet to the street tarmac into oncoming vehicle traffic. Someone grabbed Mikus by the hair and swung him around; he could see his own terrified reflection in the face shield as it loomed close. “Are you ready for order, Citizen?” asked the menace. Mikus eyed the upraised baton and said, “I haven’t been disorderly, Inspector. I assure you there will be no resistance. Please refrain from harming my girl-mate.” He immediately wished he hadn’t spoken. The Captain Inspector snatched a fistful of Joanne’s hair and, shaking her violently said, “You mean this one? I don’t think you are in any position to demand favors.” She looked around the crowd. “None of you are. You will remain where you stand until this patrol has assessed the disturbance. Any hostile move or attempt to flee interrogation will be met with deadly force. Am I understood?” Some pedestrians cried pitifully. Others nodded in obedience. Mikus could see Joanne’s face twisted in contortion and he wanted desperately to go to her, but doing so would only provoke further serious injury or even death. A few voices moaned in submission, evidence that people were under arm locks and chokeholds. Mikus was first to offer some peaceful doctrine hoping that all would hear it, especially Joanne, who was apt to be outspoken over the calmest of situations. This was not a calm assemblage. Eight hundred pounds of armored flesh separated him from the love of his life. “We fully submit,” said Mikus. “You’ll have no trouble from us.” It was the least he could do. After all, the incident was certainly his fault and had been monitored from the tram cams. He felt horrible that so many citizens should come to harm by his account. He had to make it right somehow. The Captain let loose of Joanne. “Assume it!” Everyone dutifully put their hands over their heads. The Inspectors went through their pockets, packages and personally belongings. Each suspect was asked the same question over and over again as hands groped, digging for items and examining surfaces. “Initials, letters, sentences, words?” An Inspector wanted to know. “No Inspector, Patriot.” “Books, pamphlets?” “Never, Inspector Patriot.” “I’ll bet I can find a paragraph on a real piece of paper.” “I wouldn’t dream of it!” replied a shrill male voice. The Captain turned her attention on Mikus, giving him head to toe scrutiny. She looked at his waist. “What’s this?” She yanked his coat away from his lower half, went through the pockets, lining; she shook it and threw it over the guardrail. She ripped open his silk shirt, and her gloved hands swiped over his body. He kicked his shoes loose so they could be similarly examined. Someone tousled his hair and probed between his legs with a gloved hand. Go ahead and do your worst, he thought. He’d been through the procedure dozens of times before and there was never an end or reason to it. They kept the populace in check through physical intimidation. Most of it amounted to shoving and slapping. This time was somehow different -- the speed at which they moved, their body postures and the extent of the injuries inflicted -- it was personal.
Stevenson is a native Californian presently residing in Hemet the dig site known as Valley of the Mastodons. His career has spanned such occupations as automotive mechanic and service manager, government security officer, and newspaper reporter and editor. At the age of 26 he...