Dystopia

Anthem by Ayn Rand

Anthem by Ayn Rand

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.

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1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell

Review by Shwetha H S

Title: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Imprint: Adarsh Books
ISBN Number: 8187138378
Genre: Classic, Dystopian Fiction

The author of 1984, George Orwell, has many works to his name but was best known for the satire Animal Farm and dystopian novel 1984. His works are inspired by real life and politics around him and the world.

1984 is about the dystopian England called Oceania that literally controls the lives of every citizen. Oceania is run by the Party headed by the Big Brother. The Party controls the thoughts, food, activities, education and even the history. Newspeak, a retard of English, is used by citizens, and it is implemented to curb the thoughts of the people and avoid them turning against the Party. Sexual urges are curbed, natural instincts are cut, thoughts of betraying the Party is severely punished. Children are taught to turn their parents to the Thought Police if they find any clue of betrayal. The history is erased and rewritten as per the Party’s convenience to appease their current situation. Adults and children are fed stats made by the Party. Nobody knows what the real past is, what is happening to them at present and what will happen in the future. Among them is Winston Smith, a person who is living as per the Party rules but is able to remember and differentiate between the real and reel. He finds co-traitor in Julia with whom he also has a love affair. Love affairs are banned by the Party. Traitors are said to be with Emmanuel Goldstein and his Brotherhood, and against the Party and the Big Brother. Winston dreams of bringing down the falsehood. One day, O’Brein, an Inner Party member, talks to Winston and Julia of how to join the Brotherhood to help them destroy the Party. What happens next is both plausible and impossible.

Winston Smith is an above average guy who isn’t gullible. Julia is the cunning girl who rebels inwardly but is an obedient citizen in front to the world. O’Brein is the mastermind. Goldstein is never seen. There are many other fleeting characters that are used to emphasize on the iron grip of the Party.

1984 is a well written book. It takes your heart on a ride. A must read for every book enthusiast.

The Time Machine by H G Wells

The Time Machine by H G Wells

Review by Shwetha H S

To see the downfall of the entity for whose prosper you and the generations before yours have toiled is like losing faith in your purpose. No matter what you do, things will eventually turn out the way they are meant to be. Even if you go back and forth in time using a time machine, what is going to happen, will happen. The way H G Wells makes you understand this concept is worthier than the whole concept of time travel this story of The Time Machine is based on.

Through The Time Machine, H G Wells paints a grim picture of how mankind digs its own grave, one inch at a time. When the protagonist, the time traveller, travels far into future i.e. 802,701 A.D to find a sickeningly beautiful and frighteningly suffocating Earth inhabited by humans who are unlike us. Why? For one, humans have branched into two sub-species; one Eloi who are beautiful, delicate and petite midgets, and other Morlocks who are no lesser than beasts. Evolution has taken the good out of all the attempts of this age humans to make an organized society. Rich have evolved into Eloi who are good for nothing and poor have evolved into dreaded Morlocks. So, how does this dystopian world, which is far removed from the futuristic world that we hope and are working towards, function? What happens to this time traveller who chances upon this era?

The images that H G Wells has managed to paint through his words are quite moving, but not disturbing in these times of internet when we have almost new catastrophes to see day in and day out. But, back in the days when The Time Machine was written and published, to provide a glimpse into a possible future without a crystal ball must have been amazing. This was done without any loopholes in the narration. Lucky was H G Wells for having born in those times when new concepts were sprouting and desired. And lucky was that time which could witness the rising of sci-fi, most of which has come true by now. The Time Machine by H G Wells is a classic sci-fi that should not be missed.

Interview with Lindsay Edmunds

Lindsay Edmunds is the author of New Sun Rising: Ten Stories. This weekend, we bring you an interview with her.

We Read That Too: We know that you are an author. As what kind of an author would you introduce yourself?

Lindsay Edmunds: Late at night a few months ago in a state of exhaustion, it dawned on me what kind of stories I write: magical realism for the internet age. Ghosts coexist with e-beasts, mobiles with magic.

I’ve always been interested in the relationships people have with machines and have always liked fairy tales and fantasy. Magical realism for the internet age is the logical result of those interests.

WRTT: What do you do apart from writing?

LE: I work as a freelance editor in the areas of ecology, managed care, and pharmacy. My home is a semirural part of southwestern Pennsylvania, about 12 miles south of Pittsburgh.

WRTT: What genres of books do you read?

LE: I like biographies, speculative fiction, and traditional fairy tales/folk tales. However,  a book I reread almost every year, Turtle Diary by Russell Hoban, has none of those elements. Best to just describe me as a book omnivore.

WRTT: Given a chance, how would you describe New Sun Rising: Ten Stories in just one sentence?

LE: It tells the story of Kedzie Greer, a girl who looks beyond the walls of her perfect community in search for more.

WRTT: What prompted you to write this story?

LE: It began with a dreamlike image: angels bending over the bed of girl who was balancing between life and death. They told her to live.

This image makes a brief appearance in the story “Fallow Time”

“Kedzie remembered tall, blue-robed angels mouthing words she could not understand. It had to have been in the hospital. Before the hospital was a blank.”

WRTT: What inspired you to write a dystopian fiction?

LE: In New Sun Rising, I first created a utopian community, Stillwater. It was logical, in terms of storytelling, to show the world outside Stillwater’s walls as dystopian. That is how the young heroine, Kedzie Greer, would see it because she was raised in a kindly and beautiful place.

WRTT: With which other dystopian fiction would you like to compare New Sun Rising: Ten Stories?

LE: Rather than answer that question directly, I will talk about influences on my work. Every story in New Sun Rising begins with a quotation from eitherDandelion Wine or Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, a writer whose work I have enjoyed since a teenager.

Shirley Jackson, author of “The Lottery,” wrote a little-known 1950s apocalyptic novel called The Sundial with definite dystopian elements.

I also like the great post-apocalypse/dystopian novel Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban.

I admire all these authors, but would never compare myself to them. They are heroes to me.

WRTT: Apart from New Sun Rising: Ten Stories, name any one dystopian fiction which you would suggest your readers?

LE: I really liked Susan Kaye Quinn’s YA novel The Legacy Human. She just published a sequel, The Duality Bridge, which is high up on my to-be-read list. http://www.susankayequinn.com/

WRTT: Are there any other works of yours in the pipeline?

LE: Yes, two!

First one: USA Today best-selling urban fantasy author Anthea Sharp just greenlighted my story “The Skeptic” for inclusion in the Chronicle Worlds: Feyland anthology. Chronicle Worlds is a sibling series to The Future Chronicles,a best-selling science fiction/spec fiction anthology series. This is the premise of Anthea Sharp’s Feyland: “What if a high-tech computer game was actually a gateway to the Realm of Faerie?”

Second one: A novella set in the early years of the 23rd century about a husband and wife, both expert programmers, who have devoted their entire lives to making Networld a better, richer experience for people. They believe that advances in artificial intelligence and robotics offer the hope of immortality. Now that the wife is dying prematurely, they look back on their 25-year marriage.

Its name is The Paradise Fix.

WRTT: Anything else that you would like your readers to know?

LE: I love watching bad movies with good friends. The more terrible the movie, the more fun we have. I suppose that’s a dystoptian/utopian thing: the bad movie is the dystopia; friendship and laughter are the gold.

WRTT: Thank you, Lindsay. With your suggestions, our list of to-read books has grown and we look forward to add your next book to the same list.

New Sun Rising: Ten Stories by Lindsay Edmunds

Review by Shwetha H S

New Sun Rising: Ten Stories by Lindsay Edmunds is actually a single story with ten chapters and each chapter is narrated by different people who are onlookers of protagonist’s life. This type of narration is what sets this book apart. It has a storyline which will never let you put it down.

Set in 2199, the story starts at a secluded place called Stillwaters, which is a part of the Reunited States. A dystopian world outside its gates, Stillwaters is a matter of curiosity for outsiders. The story revolves around a teenage girl, Kedzie Greer, who leaves her secured life in Stillwater to try and make a life on her own in the out god forsaken world that is governed by e-beasts with help of useless human governors and vigilbots. A naïve Kedzie, who wants to make the world a better place falls victim of its atrocities and then fights against her e-beasts with help of a cult called the Outsiders.

Lindsay Edmunds manages to set chills down your spine and helps you get goosebumps with her description of this dystopian world. If her story comes true, then we will have to actually invent a time machine. Narration is unflawed. She also offers relevant quotes from Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine; the quotes are so relevant that they will make you wonder if she has actually written each chapter to suit that quotes as mentioned in the summary. All in all, no qualms with the story. Lindsay, in fact, makes you think about how you are affecting the future of this world.