Fiction Fest: A sampling of the long-awaited ‘Skylight’

Skylight 2x3 WEBKevin Hopkins’ debut novel, “Skylight,” is a dystopian novel about an unthinkable scenario. You won’t have to wait long to get your hands on a copy of this book, it drops on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.

More about the book: One October night, millions died when the air suddenly became unbreathable. Miraculously left alive, Martin Fall journeys home to Los Angeles and watches as society collapses all around him, leaving him to pick up the pieces. But when he’s recruited for a dangerous mission, he must confront his tragic past to rescue a technology that could save the earth from destroying itself.

EXCERPT:

Like an aneurysm that erupts in a young and healthy heart, the horror begins in a time and place unexpected. Is there some clue that I missed? Some precaution I could have taken?

Even with the benefit of hindsight, I do not know.

All I am certain of is this. As the day winds toward its tranquil close, it is as perfect as any day I have ever known. The sweet highland air, alive with cookouts and chimney smoke and the coming season’s chill. Lawns so recently green, dusted now with the yellow and brown leaves of slumbering maples. The Rockies in the distance, capped by an early snow. And high above, a sky that soars beyond sight, a blue canopy brushtroked with gentle clouds and the passage of birds on a wing. It is a master’s rendering: still life in the mountains.

Yet somewhere in this tableau, we can also be found. The six of us, friends paired off with friends, trading dreams and memories as if the demands of the city never again would intrude. Jeannie—my wife of fifteen years—stands at the barbecue grill with our friend Ray Stanford, whom I’ve known even longer, blackening the steaks for our dinner. Sara Stanford and I move about in the background, setting the picnic table as carefully as if it were a corner booth in a five-star hotel. And in the sprawling yard beyond us, our two girls practice their soccer skills, racing past each other with the infinite energy of youth, any thoughts of next week as distant as another planet. We are here. We are together. We are alive. That is all that matters.

For who knows when we will see each other again? Tomorrow, Jeannie and Cassie and I fly back to Los Angeles, bowing to the edicts of school and work. This is our fifth visit to Denver since Ray and Sara migrated here to the city’s eastern edge, and like all of our trips it ends too soon.