Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Covers are Too Far Apart

The Third by Abel Keough
(Adult Apocalyptic Fiction)
"The covers of this book are too far apart."--Ambrose Bierce
Thus begins my review of a book that took too much and gave too little.

The Third takes place in the year 2065, a futuristic apocalyptic world where citizens are only allowed 2 children.  The concept is so overdone already--for a great book on the same plot, try Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  In this version, Ransome Lawe has just found out his wife has become pregnant with their third child, a move he is not happy about.  However, being the great husband that he is, he swallows his feelings of frustration and blame (barely) and tries to find some way to legally keep the child.  When this fails, there is no other way but to escape to a utopian land called 'Minnesota'. 

It isn't only the plot that makes this story a drudgery to read.  There were so many capitalization errors that is was frustrating and distracting to work all the way through. That's a minor problem.  The bigger problems are with details.  As a reader, I was brought forcefully out of the story and had to keep stepping back from the book and asking questions to an author I wish I had an email address for. 

For example,
1.  In this future world where resources are terribly scarce, why do people still use pencils, papers and clipboards?  My doctor's office doesn't even use this stuff now.  Everything is on a laptop and there are computers in the book.
2.  Why does EVERY woman have to come to the clinic for a monthly blood test to check for pregnancy?  Seriously, we can just pee in a cup today.  In 50 years, there still won't be a better test?
3.  Why are these people still using birth control?  TODAY there are better methods than the pill and the author doesn't even try using other reproductive or counter-reproductive technologies.
4.  The main character complains about paying $2 for a Coke to show how outrageous prices are.  Um, there is a machine at Universal Studios in Orlando that charges $3.50.

It just seems as if the author were writing from 50 years ago.  None of the main plot supports even begins to suggest why this should be a realistic or believable story. When a reader delves into futuristic fiction, it should be cutting-edge looking beyond what we have today and imagining for the reader how our future technologies will morph into something either for good or ill.  This book just doesn't do that.  If you are into Dystopian fiction, I have plenty of other suggestions that will blow your mind....Hunger Games, Among the Hidden series, Uglies,......I can go on and on and you should too.

Go on to another book, that is.

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