• The maiden's firestorm

      Aruffo, Heather; Soos, Frank; Johnson, Sara Eliza; Carr, Rich (2019-05)
      The Maiden's Firestorm is a work of speculative fiction set in the fictional Solonian Worker's Republic, a country reminiscent of the Soviet Union in the 1940s. Geopolitically, the novel centers around the conflict between the Solonian Worker's Republic and the nomadic Kyzare, an ethnic group with terrifying telepathic abilities caused by an element called Yinitrium. The story is told through the point of view of two adult children of a mixed race Kyzare-Solonian family, who must navigate the consequences of their marginalized identities in a hostile world. The first point of view follows Rakell, an engineering student who is recruited to work on a top secret weapons project, and is given the choice between Party membership and denouncing her mother, a former Worker's Party member. The second point of view follows Rakell's older brother Yeordan, who is forced by the Solonian state to spy on their estranged father, a Kyzare nationalist in charge of the Mind Warriors. The stories are interwoven throughout the novel, and are used to develop themes of political and familial loyalty, as well as nationalism, and the role of personal relationships under extenuating circumstances. The novel uses speculative fiction to address real world historical and political questions. The relationship between the Kyzare's telepathic abilities and Yinitrium allows the speculative elements to function as metaphor, and mirrors Solonian attempts to weaponize Yinitrium. In this way, power is explored as a theme, as both groups use the element to exert control over the continent.