Intrigue surrounds the opening notes of Frame, a suspenseful journey into the darker side of social media, and the celebrity-mongering it encourages. Examined through the lense of content production, the book follows the story of a young woman who continues to struggle with the untimely and mysterious death of her husband. From the fringes of the the glittering world she works for but will never be a part of, she discovers a harrowing secret that could mean nothing – or everything – to her.
Unfolding in a stark near-future setting that is as immersive as it is unsettling, Frame engages with themes of censorship, and the manipulation of emotional intelligence as well as a strong criminal element involving terrorism. Alliss has done an exceptional job with solid, balanced world-building that is not only believable, but beautifully poignant in its execution.
The strength of the protagonist is a win for me. She bounces off of the other characters in ways that highlight her cool, capable manner; though even the ‘throwaway’ characters Frame parades through the story are memorable in their own right. There is a gritty pragmatism to the way the story is woven that intrigues but also threatens. I found it an immersive read, daring me to slip a little further down the rabbit hole.
Just a little bit further. Bit further…
Alliss’ internalised style is a treasure, lending an intrinsically psychological bent to the work that is fascinating. Evocative and unashamedly sharp, this work of speculative fiction will leave an impression.
Frame will be available in February through Atlas Productions.
Learn more about AK Alliss here.