Tag Archive: dystopia



19841984 by George Orwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is my second reading of this book. It was required reading in high school (about 1967). I remember it being very scary and prayed it would never happen. As the actual year of 1984 flew by many of us began to relax. Maybe the science fictional prophecy was far from ever happening.

Many people have recommended this book again what with rumors of Newspeak/Fake News. The book shows that anyone can be convinced of anything given the right set of circumstances. I believe that to be true, which is why I don’t believe that torture would ever bring out the truth. Many are in jails because the good cop/bad cop or other tricks of coercion have brought the suspect to admit to something they never did do. Much of the book shows how this can happen.

Regardless of which side of the political system you may stand, this set of possibilities should shout at you. You should feel free to tell your truth without worry of being tortured or demeaned in any way. After all your set of circumstances have brought you to your belief. But on the same line, we should have respect for another point of view, even if it seems crazy. If you stop that truth from coming out, you may miss a grain of truth you may need to learn to live more openly.

I relate that to the lowly dandelion and my mother. My mother was anemic and had very bad health in general. But when I was young I would see her out in the lawn digging out the dandelions and tossing them away. Knowing what we know about that so-called weed, this could have been the medicine my mother could have ingested and become much healthier, regardless of the ungroomed lawn. What gems or weeds of health are we missing by calling each other names and not learning someone else’s truth?

On another level… As scary as the world of ‘1984’ is, the misogyny of past sci-fi and fantasy is very clear here. I didn’t notice this when I was a teen. Almost all the books I read were male-heavy. I remember asking about it only once. The answer was we had to have these books because boys have a hard time learning to and then liking reading. Having watched my brothers with that very problem I didn’t think about it again. I had trouble with reading but found ways to get around the problems and I LOVED reading. (Still do.)

In this book the main character’s wife won’t give him a divorce, they had infertility problems. He gets the wet dream fantasy fulfilled in a woman who gives without requiring anything from him, not even or especially not wanting love. Finally, there is the woman out in the yard who sings with clothespins in her mouth and he finds her big hips sexually appealing though in another segment he is reminded how like his mother she is. So beyond sex and birth, it seems this generation of sci-fi writers seemed to have nothing to do with women. That should have been our biggest warning! Of all that happened to this character!!!!! I find myself feeling foolish that it took me until my 60s to figure out how little part women play in most men’s lives. I have a friend that tried to tell me this when I was still into makeup and clothes–and making my own babies. But it is because I decided to make my reading diet be mostly female writers with female main characters, and not in the romantic chic-lit stuff. More along the lines of Bechdel. (Google her) This is also how I choose to watch TV/Movies. Women have to hold up half of the sky of whatever I read or watch. Equally important. That was not the case in this book. And years ago I might not have noticed. Now I am nearly blinded by it. So if you haven’t seen it as strong as I have, try my ‘diet’. Give it a year or so. I especially challenge male to try this. When you notice the lack of human equality in reading or what you watch maybe you will be part of the change? Maybe if women hold their own in a story like ‘1984’ we may find ways to avoid that crazy kind of life.

Do read this. No matter which side of the fence, or gender, there are weeds of health here we all need!

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Hold Back the StarsHold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t like romance, well, maybe the occasional You Got Mail or Nottinghill, but mostly I find them boring. I DO love me some space, dystopia, futuristic sci-fi. This book has all four elements. Within the science fiction setting there just happens to be a love story. It was fun!

Spoilers are threatening to spill out of me as I write this and seem to be overwhelming my brain. I seem not to be able to give more of my opinion without them and I refuse to put them here.

I might like to read this again. I can think, if the author would like the suggestion, of a way to make a book two, or at least an alternative ending. As it is I think she did put in two different endings.

If any of my friends read this, and I hope they do, I hope we can have a bit of a discussion about the endings.

This story will stay with me for a while. Think of Gravity the movie mixed with a strange dystopic earth threatened by meteors. SO GOOD!

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The ShipThe Ship by Antonia Honeywell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great idea for a story. Irritating main character.

I was lucky to get this book free from NetGalley. Thank you! It was well worth the read.

London is now part of a dystopian world and survival seems near impossible for this family, even though it is a well to do family. Must really suck for those with less.

But the spoiled daughter of these particular parents has no clue what is happening in the real world outside her house. They have tried to spare their child the worst of it. That seems a big mistake as this poor girl just doesn’t know how to live once she isn’t in her sheltered life.

Father, in hopes of saving many people, has obtained a ship. Eventually, the small family must join the rest of the people he has attempted to save.

The process of the story before the ship is interesting. But gets quite exciting when they move aboard. I don’t want to put in any spoilers so I won’t tell you any more of the plot. But I would assume one could call this a coming of age for this main character–I hope so. I didn’t see enough growth in her by the end of the book to make me want to read anymore. She moans, complains and mourns the whole book. Yet her father and everyone onboard try their best to help her.

Maybe it is because I am not the target audience for this book, but I do love a good dystopia, and those elements are there. Maybe resolve is coming as this was only book one. I might want to read the next. Not sure if I want to put up with the brat anymore.

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End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days, #3)End of Days by Susan Ee

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m jealous of folks who get to read this series one book after another. It has been so long since I read books one and two that I had sort of forgotten a lot of what happened before. I sort of remembered as I went along but by now the story was so deep and often scary that I just couldn’t handle much of it at all. I know I was charmed by the characters and story the first couple books. A little of that crept through. But in spite of all of that, in spite of a big sister who has grown up with a mental patient for a mother and a disabled sister, and who is in love with an angel, no really! they are all living in a post-apocalyptic mess and this big sister is trying to save the world.

But how again did little sister turn into–um–a demon or locust? I vaguely remember mad scientist types but I read the series too long ago.

Even still I got into this book and didn’t want to stop reading until the world as they knew it was safer.

So if it has been a while since you read the first two, maybe a re-read is better. If you haven’t read any of the books, try to get all three so you can read them in a row and not get lost like I did.

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Third Life: Taken (Life First, #3)Third Life: Taken by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a good ending to a good series. It was good because it offered plenty to think about. When a government can tell a person what they can or can’t do with their bodies, where does it end? Can they make you give up a kidney because it can save someone else? And who is held responsible when something goes wrong? And though there are scientists that can prove or disprove as much in the scientific realm as theologians can do the same with the Holy Books who can we trust?

Let’s say you decided not to give up your kidney. You feel you need it as much as anyone else. Where does your right to live stand in comparison to someone else’s? What if the government decided who should or shouldn’t have babies? Can you see what a sticky-wicket of a world it would be?

In this last book, which makes me sad to say as I will miss these characters, there are a wedding, a kidnapping, and healing while running for one’s life–or that of another. The action picks up and isn’t as slow as book two.

It has been nearly a month since I read this but I feel good reviewing as I feel I remember quite a lot. At least it made a big enough impact for me that I could remember the gist. **SMILE**

Now a quick question for the author: What was the purpose of the hidden room? Did I miss something? Or did I imagine a greater purpose than that given to us? Could there be more in store for us?

Anyway, I highly recommend this series. Sure there is romance but it doesn’t take over the main story and sometimes adds to it.

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Second Life (Life First #2)Second Life by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this second book to be slower and not nearly as exciting as the first book. But then how do you compete with emergency skydiving? I tried to be patient realizing we were getting to know other characters better.

Having a disabled person as the main character was a plus. I love it when authors take a chance with something other than perfect people and let us see characters who are different.

Still, the first half of the book took place in two rooms. THAT was boring! Sure we needed to get to know our characters’ thoughts but there had to be another way to do that.

Towards the end, things picked up and felt more like the first book. Knuckle were whitened, nails were bitten. And I was praying that there would be no cliffhanger. And there wasn’t. The book left you in a safe enough place but you knew there was more that needed to be done. Luckily, I had book three lined up and took off with that one!

Something I need to add here is another original idea of these three books is the moral dilemma similar to abortion or capital punishment. What if we were forced to give up our organs to those we match who are dying? This book takes further into what if by being forced we become disabled or otherwise harmed? Who is held responsible? I love books that make you think and this series does do that while presenting well-developed characters and lots of adventure.

Shoot, I just decided that I need to raise this from three to four stars, just due to my own review. I will remember this series long into the future that hopefully doesn’t have the dilemmas presented here.

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The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I hated people assigning books for me to read as a teen, I think this should be one for everyone. It was eerily too close to much that is happening today. Men/young boys need to learn what women think of them. Women need to get stronger and make sure they are holding up half the sky. There is no sense of majority men in politics leaving the other half no representation.

I was fortunate to have a free credit on Audible so I picked up the Special Edition with Claire Danes as narrator and a host of other voices. It certainly made the reading experience come to life, as regrettable a life it was to read about. I did read along on the Kindle version that my husband shared with me. I knew I had to read it before watching the Hulu version.

Many have told me to read this book in the past. I wish I would have gotten around to it before now so that this would be a second reading. It is too heavy, scary to read again so soon. Yet I may have to again before the year is over. I want to make it a part of my being, pull the wisdom down to the cellular level.

After the book, there is another section with a man covering the tapes found by our main character. It is set in the far future and after much study, they are analyzing the tapes and what kind of world the producer of the tapes lived in. I found that part of the writing so different and amazing. The vocabulary so different than the rest of the book. I have read poetry by Margaret Atwood and then this book. So I find it fascinating from a writer’s viewpoint that a person could have such a range in their writing skills.

After that (epilogue?) Ms. Atwood talks about writing the book and how her experiences played a big part in how the story became so real. Again, I was entranced!

Please don’t watch the series before reading this. Though they are doing a nice job, they still aren’t getting the depth of feelings that you get from the book. In fact, the first scene is actually from the end of the book. I found that just wrong. But maybe as time goes on it will make sense why they did that. It certainly is the cautionary tale for all of us who have taken our freedoms (even the ones we haven’t attained yet) for granted.

Please read this book, with the Special Edition Audible if you can.

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Life First (Life First #1)Life First by R.J. Crayton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Finally, a book that kept me interested! I don’t know if any of you noticed what I book slump I’ve been in. If you read the blurb: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2…, you can see that it contains subject matter that makes us all worry about what extremes could bring about, and how on the other extreme of not allowing for fear of the extremes is also life threatening. (In my attempt to not give spoilers I am creating very bad sentences!) It is something in our current news that keeps everyone upset no matter which side of the fence you stand.

Here the young main character, Kelsey Reed, doesn’t want to give up her kidney. It is the law that you must, in this dystopia, if someone needs your kidney, heck, you have two! you give it up. Otherwise, you are breaking the law and must go to prison and eventually give up all your donatable parts.

We follow this young woman as she learns more about herself and tries to escape her fate.

It is a quick moving story with deep morals to look at. I was so into it that as soon as I got paid I bought the next two books! I can’t wait to continue the series!

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Animal FarmAnimal Farm by George Orwell

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Okay. I get it. A ‘person’ with no previous experience in running the farm takes over. The gullible listen because it is a strong voice. Rather charismatic. Lazy farm animals rather than using their brains or researching what it takes to run the farm vote this person in. The person sets up rules and keeps them as long as they apply to his own comfort and then changes them while no one pays attention, deflecting that attention by making folks think they had seen it wrong to begin with.

Yes, I see the appeal. But I am no more impressed with this book that when it was assigned to my Humanities class in High School. Sad that all the things we fought so hard for back then are being taken away by the pigs. Living the story doesn’t increase its appeal. It’s still a male heavy story with nothing but fighting and hatred.

But maybe everyone should read it. Who knows what might wake up the rest of the animals on this farm. By the way, this was the audio version that I picked up from the OverDrive library. I had hoped that the E-library would have the Kindle version but it was still out. I will take it off HOLD so that it can go to someone else.

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Review:


All Our Wrong TodaysAll Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has taken me a long time to read this book. That mostly has to do with the formatting for Kindle/text-to-speech. On almost every page there is a S32 or N33 or words not connected. L ike th at n eeds t o b e f ix ed! By the way, things like f ix get read by text-to-speech as ‘f’ 9.

But I got used to the crazy formatting problems. Most ly. I did have to keep an eye on the text to make sure I understood what was being said. THEN there are several pages of F*ck and Sh*t. I understand that Julie Andrews is a fairly competent cusser along with being a fantastic actress and singer. Since I have my TTS set to be British female who sounds like Julie Andrews, I had to read all those pages to make sure my TTS was really working and not a reincarnation of a bad Mary Poppins. Honestly, that wasn’t needed in the story. Sure the character was angry and in shock but a good writer could have shown it with more class.

This was a good science fiction story. That is why there are three stars and not just one. It was a time travel adventure. And I love the concepts presented, though very slow in the lecture not showing. Still, I forgave that and kept with it. I didn’t like the main character most of the time. I’d give you his name but it changes a lot. Only toward the very end did I feel the character had something redeemable.

Gee, the more I write this the more I feel it should be a two star or less. But I want to encourage the author to clean this up. I am absolutely surprised that this book had as many editors and readers as is indicated in the author’s notes. This coming from a person who cannot edit worth beans. But this story has promise. It could be a fun adventure. But make the main character more real and worthy of the reader’s care. But the subject matter brings the story to–2.5 stars round up.

I picked this copy up from NetGalley. I’m thankful for the opportunity. And I hope others get a chance to read a better copy.

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