Review by Shwetha H S
Genre: Dystopian Fiction, Cyberpunk Sci-Fi
Imprint: Inked – Penguin Books, India
Shiv Ramdas is a former media professional who is now completely into writing.
Albert is too emotional for someone who is a resident of the Dome. In his dystopian world, one day when he is going back home after finishing talking to random people on the network, that is what everybody does for work, he takes a route that is forbidden for people of the city. There he finds a child, Theo, gets fatally attacked by her and her friends, saves her from patrolling robots, and rescues her by taking her to his home. Next day, he gets blackmailed by a data management computer. It wants to die, and it wants Albert to file a petition to the governing body to pull its plug. It tells him if he doesn’t do as told, it will inform everyone about him sheltering a fugitive. What does Albert do? He can’t send the girl away as she has no one. If he doesn’t listen to the computer, he dies along with the girl. Read Domechild to know what Albert finally does.
Theo’s anxiety of not living up to people’s expectations is what I could relate to as a reader. Her grandfather, Robert, is the guy whose genius is misused. Albert is the frustrated guy who is fed up of waiting for a Messiah.
Domechild feels more like a dystopian satire than a cyberpunk sci-fi. Narration is not grippy in the beginning for such a genre. Conversations between the characters don’t have emotions in them though present in the words. As a reader, the murder of Castor in the story did not have any effect on me. The story gets intense only after 3/4th of the book is over. That is when you realize the dystopia of the book is not in the far future, but is the current time that we live in. Information is the dope that gives high here. Just like the useful and useless trivia that we find on our Facebook newsfeed. The concept here is about businesses run on pay-per-view income. Here technology has taken over everything. This is a clever dystopia by Shiv Ramdas. The dome here signifies the bubble. Burst the bubble to face the truth kind of situation. The concept of Information Epidemic is simply a marvelous concept. If not for anything else, the book is worth reading for the sake of this Information Epidemic. But in the end, it feels like the author has brought in assumptions of Albert in a hurried manner to bring book one to an end and establish that Albert is clever.
Domechild is not your regular dystopian fiction. You can relate to a lot of things even in the present day. Read it. That’s it.