The Mechanical Magistrate

Written by Greg Hansen⎮ Narrated by Alan Bruun

Author: Greg Hansen
Narrator: Alan Bruun
Length: 1 hour 54 minutes
Publisher: Greg Hansen
Released: Dec. 31, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction

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There’s no such thing as the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Awakened after being cryogenically frozen for 40 years, Phillip Rolfe, a death row inmate, is cleared of his wife’s murder by The Mechanical Magistrate, an infallible piece of machinery that has replaced juries and judges.

There is also someone who has replaced God - Dr. Jalen Walker, the megalomaniacal inventor of The Mechanical Magistrate. Dr. Walker controls every aspect of life in the compound he has created, using a zero-tolerance policy to ensure compliance to his will.

Phillip decides to search for his son, the only witness to the murder. Walker, extracting a promise from Phillip that he will return to the compound, sets hi free into a landscape so ravaged by disease that only 10 percent of the population has survived.

When Phillip’s son is found, their reunion is not quite Phillip expected. Worse, Walker takes control of that situation as well, with disastrous results. Tired of Walker’s control of his life, Phillip decides to use The Mechanical Magistrate against him.

Phillip decides that he wants to be God, and he knows how to do it. He knows something that Walker does not - the Mechanical Magistrate is not infallible, after all.

Sophia Rose's Review

4 Stars

This audiobook was provided by its author, Greg Hansen, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Greg!

Sentenced to lethal injection for the murder of his wife, Phillip Rolfe never expects to wake up in a bizarre world forty years later. He’s been cleared of the crime he was convicted for by a machine known as the Mechanical Magistrate. The shock of what happened while he slept only hits Rolfe when he listens to a crackpot science type who seems to be in charge and then goes looking for his family.

I love sci-fi because of the fascinating and curious concepts and worldbuilding that takes place. The Mechanical Magistrate is no exception. Phil wakes in the dark, gritty future of 2070. Humanity made some major boo boos in the past and the future does not look bright. There are some definite nods to current environment, bio-weapons, and global political issues being responsible.

The Mechanical Magistrate is a shorter novella so it had the job of setting up this future dystopian world, but also developing characters and getting the plot going along. It was part adventure as Phil is searching for his remaining family, but also part mystery since Phil is looking for answers to the past when his wife was murdered. And, it is also suspenseful because Phil suspects the guy in charge of it all is a megalomaniac type with his ‘zero tolerance’ policies and birthing mandates.

There is tension and excitement, but at the end there was a great twist. I saw the twist coming, but still enjoyed it all the same.

Alan Bruun was a new to me narrator and I thought he was a good match for The Mechanical Magistrate. He had a good variety and flexibility of voices for the cast so I had no trouble distinguishing characters including females. He worked at a good pace and caught the tone of the story. Production quality was excellent.

All in all, this was a well-developed story and world that left me interested to try more of the author’s work. Those who enjoy futuristic sci-fi and/or dystopian should definitely give this one a go.

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