A story about finding humanity in our enemies
B.C.-based author’s young adult novel tells a rousing adventure that also says something about our world
Canada is the setting for this dystopian release from B.C.-based author Gabrielle “G.S.” Prendergast titled Zero Repeat Forever.
But the book, which tells the tale of a human, Raven, and an alien soldier, Eighth, aims to get readers thinking a bit beyond an extraterrestrial confrontation here on Earth.
In advance of the book’s release (it hit stores Tuesday), Prendergast chatted with Postmedia about “armoured Nahx,” mistrust and why nobody really wins in a war.
Q: What is Zero Repeat Forever about?
A: It’s about a group of Canadian teens struggling to survive after a devastating alien invasion, and in particular one girl, Raven, and her confrontation with one of the invaders, an alien soldier known only by his rank, Eighth. Who is the book for? The book is for anyone who loves to read young adult books, specifically dystopian action adventure stories that say something about our present world. Readers or viewers who enjoyed Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion or The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey might enjoy this one. Also fans of the Terminator movies. There’s a fair bit of action, but also a lot of character-driven drama. It’s like a deep dive into the background of a classic battle story, so anyone who enjoys war stories will find something appealing here, too.
What inspired you to write this novel?
Initially, I was inspired by a dream, which ended up being a scene in the book — a long climb up many flights of stairs. But later, I was inspired by different stories of mortal enemies coming together despite fear and mistrust — everything from Beauty and the Beast, to Enemy Mine, to How to Train Your Dragon.
The book centres around an invasion of Earth by “armoured Nahx.” What exactly are Nahx?
The Nahx are a massive army of seven-foot-tall soldiers who enact a ground assault on humans.
They are heavily armoured and ruthlessly driven to follow their directives. The book’s second narrator, Eighth, is a Nahx, and it’s through his eyes we come to learn that everything we think we know about the Nahx is not necessarily true.
Much more will be revealed in the next book.
Did you have anything particular in mind when you created these creatures?
Eighth’s interactions with humans are very much inspired by how I imagine other intelligent animals must see us — there’s his curiosity mixed with dismay at how fragile we seem, and disorganized.
I was also inspired by classic tales of “not quite human” heroes and anti-heroes — Frankenstein, Pinocchio, The Golem of Prague, The Terminator, The Iron Giant and others.
The two main characters, Raven and Eighth, must form an unlikely partnership in order to survive. What can readers expect to see come from this bizarre pairing?
There’s initially a lot of fighting and mistrust.
It’s partly a clash of cultures, partly a language barrier, and a lot of the skewed power dynamic of invader versus invadee.
But later there’s heartbreak, as they both come to know each other’s vulnerabilities and sad histories. I hope readers will be drawn into their struggle to overcome their prejudice and fear.
Without spoiling too much for readers, can you say whether or not this is a classic case of the humans always win in the end?
No. Nothing so simple as that. I don’t think anyone ever really wins a war.
Lastly, what do you hope people take away from this book?
I hope people think about how easily so-called civilization can slip into barbarism in the right (or wrong) circumstances. I also hope people remember to always look for the human in their enemies or opponent no matter who they are.
Gabrielle (G.S.) Prendergast is the B.C.-based author of Zero Repeat Forever, a new young adult novel featuring an alien invasion.