Review by Shwetha H S
Chipless is a dystopian fiction by Kfir Luzzatto. The story is set in a dystopian society where people are inserted with a chip at birth. This chip receives the signals transmitted by the people who are controlling this society inside a barricaded town or a city. All the people living inside this society catch the signals through the chip in them which makes them see and hear things that the control group wants them to hear and see. Though the actual situation of this society is such that they have lost all their natural resources and have destroyed nature, but through the chip people are manipulated to think that all is good and natural. But there is a group of rebels who have removed their chips and leave outside the society and can see the reality. The story involves Kal, a scientist with a chip inside him, and Amber, a rebel who has come into the society just to have some fun with the other informants in a cafe. And the story takes off when the police start to randomly interrogate, checking for the infiltrators among the chipped people. When Amber escapes the place suspiciously, Kal notices her and follows her, in turn becoming a suspect. Amber, without any other option, takes him to her rebels who show him what is the reality.
The narration seems like the reasonably fine first draft with all tell and no show leading to passive imagination. From the beginning, everything seems to be falling into place for Kal. He doesn’t face much conflict being a fugitive in a dystopian society. He is plain lucky and doesn’t work much to gain anything. Also, there are loopholes in the plot. For example, after helping Marion, another character, escape from the barn, how did Kal escape from the barn because he was pretending to be her? No explanation given there. As if he ported from inside the barn to outside.
I wouldn’t suggest anyone to read Chipless. Not worth the time.
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.
Review by Shwetha H S
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Anthem is another offering from Alice Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum a.k.a Ayn Rand, the same author who gave us The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Readers who like, or at least read 1984 by George Orwell, can instantly relate to Anthem.
Anthem is set in the world of far future, where men and women don’t have a name but are designated a pseudo-right with a number as their names, where people don’t have a separate house for themselves and live in huge dormitories, where in the name of equality and justice, humans have denied themselves the right to live the way they want to. Equality 7-2521 is a promising young man who deserves and is talented but is given the work of a street sweeper during the distribution of youth to different employment. He chances upon an undiscovered underground place from the Unmentionable Times i.e., our current time. During the great shift, people completely abandoned all the technology, including electricity, and are relearning and rediscovering everything from the scratch. Equality 7-2521 falls in love with Liberty 5-3000, a beautiful maiden assigned to work in the farms. In this world, it is forbidden to fall in love with anyone because it is against the rules to prefer one person more than others in the world of equality. Both Equality 7-2521 and Liberty 5-3000 know they love each other but are unable to express their feelings as it is forbidden to use words ‘I’ and ‘love’, and talk about feelings. Quality 7-2521 finds about electricity from the undiscovered underground place and goes out to share the knowledge with the designated scholars. After listening to him, the designated scholars demand his arrest and death because a designated street sweeper thinks he is superior to the designated scholars. What does he do now? If he is arrested and killed, what happens to Liberty 5-3000? Hang in there! You can find out by reading Anthem by Ayn Rand.
While reading Anthem, initially it is difficult to understand whether Equality 7-2521 is only one person or a group of people. That is the trick of Ayn Rand’s narration. That narration of hers helps to make the reader understand the plight of humans in this dystopian world. It is difficult to find any bad point about Anthem even just to mention here.
If 1984 by George Orwell was not depressing enough for you and if it did not scare you enough to worry about the world you will leave for your future generations, do read Anthem by Ayn Rand. It will make you cry yourself sleep.