Science Fiction

Powdered Souls – Dixon Reuel

18 September 2019
Powdered Souls, A Short Story: They Decided to Survive Book Cover Powdered Souls, A Short Story: They Decided to Survive
Snow Sub
Dixon Reuel
Science Fiction
Self Published
3 August 2019

People together in close quarters - fraternization naturally follows. A military VR trainer, wanting to keep her relationship with a fellow scientist hidden, must pass a security inspection in her lab by the vicious Atlas Crusade that has swept to power. When the leader of the security team demands an unusual VR request in her lab, Prof. Meliss must decide between keeping her lover safe, or secretly undertaking a consciousness swap that could end the Crusade’s five-year long relentless rule. A rule that has co-opted all scientific research to aid their global expansion, rendering Prof. Meliss and Prof. Lauren expendable, as legions of other researches wait to step into their lab if either woman dishonors the great Crusade.


Powdered Souls is the second short story I’ve read from Dixon Reuel that is set in the same world to that of Harmemoric Asylum – one covered in snow. This is a science fiction story where machines have advanced capability and humans revert to the strongest will survive mentality, with unconcealed power-hungry obsessions.

The full title implies this is book one of the Snow Sub Series and that has left me a little unsure whether the structure of the short story works. As a short story, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll be dropped into some scenario without much background but that the specific plotline will play out creating a window into a world that holds mystery and adventure on its edges but creates excitement in the moment. Dixon delivers on that front and I enjoyed reading this story.

The acceptance required of the background was a lot to ask without more detail, especially as the story will continue to grow over a series, where a lot of content will presumably be delivered. It may have been better to have approached this as a novella and just lengthened the story and provided room to create a backdrop where we better appreciate the technology, the historical events that have dramatically changed the world, the rules that govern society, and how national authority is structured and enforced.

As part of this story, a security team are suspicious of a high tech VR lab and arrive for an inspection. Prof Meliss and her assistant, and lover, Dr Lauren are breaking a rule with their relationship, so they decide to cover Lauren’s body and transfer her consciousness into the VR system. Hide in full sight. The tale has a twist of irony with great elements of suspense. If this is the taster of a full course I’d like Dixon to serve up the full menu. I look forward to reading more extensive work from Dixon as her writing is strong, vivid and well-plotted.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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