Volodymyr Kuznietsov is a Ukrainian sci-fi/horror writer, game designer, comix writer, and metal musician from Lugansk region, the easternmost part of the country, a territory invaded by Russia in 2014. His home town was taken by the Russian forces in late spring and freed by the Ukrainian military forces in midsummer – a relatively short period, that, none the less, became a turning point in life. During the occupation public pro-Ukrainian position could cost dearly, different paramilitary groups fought each other for spoils and influence, people were kidnaped for ransom, forced to give off their property, tortured, and killed.
But most of all, this was the clash of ideologies, where one side tried hard to reanimate the Soviet Union, and the other stood up for independence and democracy. The war still rages on and it left its trace in books – among which is Volodymyr Kuznietsov’s book “Zakolot: The Unspeakable Cults”.
Ukrainian word Zakolot means Mutiny, and the mutiny on a giant mothership Synano, the eldest warship of the New human Empire – is the key story event of the novel. But the whole plot is much more complicated.
Zakolot consists of six parts, which are independent and can be read in any order – and, depending on what order you choose, you will get a different perspective on the main events, characters, major forces, and their motives. Some of the parts are 3000 years apart from each other, some take place almost simultaneously, but in the end – they are all pieces of the one greater puzzle – and how to solve it – is up to the reader.
Zakolot is set in the alternative timeline, where Axis won the war – mostly because of Japan, who discovered the artifacts of ancient pre-human civilization, which caused a technological breakthrough. United under the totalitarian rule, humanity left Earth and started to conquer the Moon and Mars – and meets an alien race, who dwelled in secret in the Outer Solar System. Militarized human government assaults the outposts of the aliens, which leads to the war, and in a short while – an utter defeat and collapse of the human civilization. After a thousand years, called the New Dark Ages, humanity finds a new ally – a god-like cosmic being, enslaved by the aliens. By freeing him humanity reclaims its freedom but only to build a New Empire, more oppressive and cruel bureaucratic machine.
The new conquests together with the internal struggles are the plot of the modern days of the New Empire. Occult practices and high tech are mixed in one. Cosmic gods, official and forbidden cults form new morals and ideologies, sometimes scary and inhuman in nature. The mutiny on the oldest and biggest warship of the human race will have tremendous consequences for Humanity as a whole.
But is there even a single Humanity anymore?