Peds by James S. Dorr


Peds by James S. Dorr
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (23 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Squill

In a near-future world where the car is king and the people are divided between those who ride on a network of highways connecting the glittering hubs of the city, and those left on foot — the lowly “Peds” — who inhabit the lands that lie between them, Robert Balkoner has always believed these latter, even if disadvantaged, are well cared for by the city as a whole. These beliefs are shattered, however, when a freak auto accident thrusts him among the Peds, and he discovers a system more varied, complex, and sometimes horrific, than anything he might have imagined. Yet even here Balkoner also can find love, as well as a handful of rebels willing to barter their lives in a quest to improve conditions for themselves and their fellows.

A short but intriguing story that will leave you thinking.

Peds by James S. Dorr is set in a Science Fiction society where the social classes are divided into two parts. Those who drive cars, and those who don’t, and the ability to descend down this ladder is treacherously simple. The main character, nicknamed Rob, seems like a standup guy from the beginning. His personality is easy to find agreeable and it’s this kind of person we would want the least harm to come to. In a poor stroke of luck and a violent clash of Rider vs. Peds Rob is thrust into a society unfamiliar to him, and it is his goal to make it back.

James S. Dorr blends Rob into a world that on one page seems so foreign and on another seems all too real. Rob quickly becomes friends with characters who have their distinct personalities, one kind and caring and the other fierce and daring. Through these friends Rob will form a plan to get back to his former life.

The story isn’t bound to the major characters which is what I enjoyed the most about this novel. It finds its real story in the conflict that can only be inferred by the different people and their individual stories no matter how short for the reader. Economic struggles and the constant theme of “what’s mine is mine” reveals a side of society we are only too eager to turn a blind eye to. Once we settle in and get comfortable in the least bit, Dorr reminds us that there needs to be a change, and things can’t always be “winner vs. loser.” This hope for change will leave you rooting for the Peds, not just Rob, until the very end.

If you are looking for a short but enjoyable story that leaves you with something to think about, you will surely enjoy Peds as much as I did.


  1. […] can be found by clicking on its picture in the center column while to read the review itself just press here.   PEDS has also been reviewed by the Open Book Society, details on which, including a link to […]

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