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Steps of the Sun utilizes writing techniques and philosophical themes from early postmodernist works, but within a contemporary setting. In true form, author Steve Luebke questions the seemingly outmoded influence of traditional social systems and culture -- including religion, economics, politics, and education -- and the applicability of their propositions to our current world. After all, society supposedly evolved from the Industrial Revolution to a service-oriented economy where creativity, design, expression, individualism, self-analysis, and linkages to nature were foremost in reshaping social and cultural philosophy. With a dip of toes in this pool of Western value systems, Steps of the Sun asks that the reader take a temperature check on whether knowledge and great feats should be the basis for participation and reward in society, or whether self-existence is exceptional enough. Mr. Luebke trots out a cast of fictitious characters and indulges his players in rumination and experience in a debate of life’s meaning and purpose that inspires the questions: Are we stuck with the conventions of history? Have we learned or applied anything new?
The author cleverly blends first-person accounts with a second-person observational journey through a large, Midwestern city of disparate social classes in a subtle writing technique that breathes mistrust into the narration to emphasize the plight of the weak and exploited; the outsiders looking in with no say in the future; the downtrodden neglected by the hand of indifference. Steps of the Sun shines a light on persistent social disorder: veterans bearing the wounds of stigma and shame; minorities barely subsisting in slums; students struggling with punishing debt; people reduced to automatons by the media; and drug dealers pushing dope to support personal economies.
Steps of the Sun breaks new ground by offering a contemporary perspective on world-weariness. The story involves everyday people in a plot that unravels a veritable skein of societal truths in a studied comparison of those who seek change versus those satisfied with the status quo. It is here in the author’s fictitious “city of pathology” that the independent-minded attempt to tackle serious problems while engaged in a battle of will with immoveable members of the establishment.