Pulp Fiction is quite a fun genre. The reads are quick, they’re shallow in the best way possible and they’re entertaining. Add to that an interesting premise and you’ve got something like COR – Heart by I.P. Igo.
In a world ravaged by war, a lone man drives in his car. He’s on a mission, albeit unwillingly. He isn’t particularly fond of his life as it is and he has lost everyone he cares about. He’s a broken man. Driving. Going day by day. Until he’s sent to investigate a plane crash.
This trope we’ve heard before anywhere from Mad Max to Waterworld or any other dystopian fiction. But have you ever heard of the main star being a surgeon? We’ve got a million and four detectives, thousands of soldiers. thirteen Doctors but not once have we had a surgeon. This is where debutant author I.P. Igo treads on new ground. Sure, we’ve had injuries in the postapocalypse that got medical attention in Mad Max: Fury Road (possibly in no small part due to the fact that director George Miller is actually a medical doctor) but none of his characters are surgeons or medical personnel.
So this is the story of Samuel Alma commonly referred to as Sam. After an unspecified war that saw most of the lower atmosphere polluted to the point where people can’t use anything that flies anymore, he drives his lightning powered med-cruiser through the USA. He’s part of a paramilitary organization named the Militia that seeks to serve and protect the US citizens.
When an enemy airplane crashes in his district, Sam finds himself – and to an extent the entire world – at a crossroads. If the enemy can fly again, what does that mean for the USA? And, more personal, should he save the pilot’s life despite the fact that he got explicit orders to not do that, leading to a world of trouble for him?
Quick Read, Quick Pace
Cor is a very quick read, clocking in at about half an hour of reading for the first volume. Tops. If you’re the slowest reader on the planet, you might spend more time on it, but generally, it’s a good read for one morning commute.
The story itself is quick paced and kept to its bare bones. This means that there is very, very little in terms of exposition beyond what we need to understand the novella. There is no sense of a larger world, the ever-present war is also not explained other than «It happened» and even Sam’s biography is largely kept in the dark apart from setting up a character with lots of shadows to explore.
That said, it’s a pretty straightforward little story by I. P. Igo, an author nobody has heard of yet because this is his first publication. There are no surprising twists, nothing that makes readers go «Oh no, he didn’t!» but the story still manages to keep a certain degree of tension up using techniques such as evading explanation and foreshadowing. Not just in the political sense of the world of Cor but also in the way Sam’s life will play out.
If this was a comic book, the first volume of Cor would be an Origin Issue where the world and the character that star in the series are introduced. Judging it on those terms, as the origin issue is a rather complex and difficult ordeal, Cor manages to hold its own by mainly making the readers want more. Despite only having spent the better part of half an hour on it, I want to spend more half-hours on sequels, because if nothing else Cor – Heart proves that there’s still room in this world of trilogies and things like Game of Thrones for short bite-sized stories. It is, however, fair to say that this would never have found its way to the open market if it weren’t for the rise of e-readers and the possibility of self-publishing stories on the internet.
All in all, Cor – Heart is a fun little read that is definitely not overpriced at 0.99 US Dollars in the Amazon Kindle store. So if you’ve got half an hour to spare and a dollar to spend, then this might just be what you’re looking for.