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"They did something to us."
The year is 2008. Six years ago, the Holn arrived on Earth, bringing amazing technological gifts and fostering good relations with mankind. They even allow one of their ships to be used as a tourist attraction, letting the curious and skeptical explore one of their vessels under their watchful eyes.
Then one day, the ship abruptly takes off, while seventeen tourists are still on board. All adults of varying ages. Soon afterwards, they are dropped off safely -- but all seventeen are now nine-year-old children. Their minds and memories are still intact -- mentally, emotionally, they're still adults -- but physically, they're all the same age. Their former lives have been irreparably shattered by the Holn's incomprehensible 'gift'. And the Holn have disappeared off the face of the planet, offering no answers whatsoever for their actions.
The author, Terry England, juggles the stories of the seventeen adults-turned-children, dubbed the Rewound Children, as they struggle with their new bodies and the chaos they've been thrown into, along with the trials and tribulations of the Holn Effect Task Force -- a group founded to study the children and figure out just what the hell happened. Interspersed with this are news reports, medical files, and various other documents that flesh out the world, illustrating the stark, cruel reality the children face. Several times it drifts into Idiot Plot territory for the sake of heaping still more drama onto their shoulders and wringing every last drop of angst out of it. The sheer amount of crap they end up going through is just staggering in scope, and the gruesome fates some face is pure High Octane Nightmare Fuel. Definitely not a story for kids.
Tropes in Rewind:
- Anyone Can Die - Not all seventeen Rewound make it to the end. What happens to them... Brr.
- Arc Words - "I am Aaron Lee Fairfax. I am forty-three years old. I am married to Janessa, but she wants a divorce. I work for Thagg, Morgan, and Edwards Brokerage Group in Kansas City, Missouri. I own a Maserati." Repeated throughout the novel in various permutations, depending on recent events.
- Author Filibuster - Happens several times. For instance, Dr. Innes ripping Reverend van Kellin a new one on Crosshairs. Followed immediately by Miranda and her speech about everyone's hypocrisy.
- Badass Grandpa - Earl.
- Bland-Name Product - Mostly averted; from the very start of the book actual networks like ABC and NBC are named. And call each other names. Later, the Soldiers of God call for the deaths of the Rewound, and claim credit for the deaths that follow.
- Blessed with Suck - The seventeen Rewound Children.
- Fan Disservice - Rewind opens with the seventeen being hauled in and forced to pose and get photographed while completely nude. The photographs show up later in a tabloid.
- Fiery Redhead - Earl.
- Humans Are Bastards -- Yes.
- Human Sacrifice -- The fate of poor Myra Caslon. Among others.
- Media Scrum
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - The news media turn public opinion against the government over their (certainly quite bad) treatment of the seventeen victims, forcing them to release them into the custody of their families. This opens up all kinds of problems. And eventually leads to several tragic deaths.
- Paparazzi - What the media as a whole turns into regarding the seventeen.
- Pointy-Haired Boss - Harrison.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend - Janessa. Oh dear God, Janessa. After her husband is turned into a child, she wastes no time in seizing everything he owns... and selling him out to 'Horseface' for more money. She doesn't even flinch when 'Horseface' and his cronies start pounding the crap out of him right in front of her.
- Secret Project Refugee Family - Aaron, Marian, and the tenents of Grid Manor.
- Strawman News Media - Practically every reporter is a slavering vulture eager to drag all seventeen children kicking and screaming into the spotlight, ravage them, then pick over their corpses. ...And that's a rather tame description, really. Plenty of Strawman Religious Nuts around, too.
- Writer on Board - Very much so.