Wallace applied the Page 69 Test to the new novel and reported the following:
The story of Slavemakers is set twenty years after an apocalyptic event that left the earth nearly devoid of humans. Unlike in many post-apocalyptic novels, though, the planet has not been left barren and blighted by a conflagration. In fact, in many ways it is already recovering from the damage done by our species, going back to the purer state it existed in before we spread across the globe.Visit Joseph Wallace's website.
One of Slavemakers’ main characters is Aisha Rose Atkinson, a young woman born just months after the apocalypse. In this passage, set in the wilds of Kenya, she stops a hyena from killing her by bashing it with a rock…but still discovers exactly where she stands in the food chain. (Hint: Not at the top.)The hyena’s mouth closed with a click of teeth. It sat back on its misshapen haunches and, for an instant its eyes went out of focus. Then they cleared, and Aisha Rose saw its body tense. At the same time, yowling, the other two came dancing in toward her.That passage focuses on one of the themes that interested me the most while I was writing Slavemakers. What would it be like to be a human in a world where we’re no longer the dominant species? Where we’re not automatically the alpha?
Coming for her, but still sideways, with their heads partly averted even as they showed their teeth. Not the steady, headlong lope—somehow eating up the ground in their humpbacked way—they used when they moved in for the kill.
She’d hurt the alpha female, she could see that. But more importantly, she’d startled them, all of them. Even scared them. What was this seemingly dormant creature that suddenly sprang up and attacked? And what else was it capable of?
Life for Homo sapiens wasn’t always the way it is now. For most of our evolutionary history, we were far from the most powerful living thing on earth. Even now, we’re easy prey for everything from microbes to tigers. We’re just good at protecting ourselves, and at eradicating most threats through the sheer force of our numbers and our technology.
Strip those away, and where would we stand? That’s what Aisha Rose knows after her encounter with the hyena pack, and that’s part of what Slavemakers is about.