- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 618 KB
- Print Length: 288 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005CXON4O
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #984,977 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Year of Compulsory Childbirth Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The only surviving member of the original Logic society, Barbara's mentor Sophia Magnus ("Great Wisdom") acts as a sort of philosophical leader to Barbara, her sisters and a young man called Darii (who provides the love interest for Barbara, despite being a few years younger). It is the younger generation, however, who provide the story action as they engage in a campaign of resistance against the increasingly tyrannical authorities. The latter, for their part, are engaged in a rear-guard action against a theocratic organization called The Faithful who would happily carry the dictatorship forward to the next level.
I am not one for spoilers, but I will say that Farringdon is more of an optimist than Orwell or Huxley.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
- Epic amount of typos and other errors ("scarecely," "excersise")
- Inconsistent spelling standard. Use British spelling or American spelling, not both (i.e., don't use both "defense" AND "defence")
- Reads like a long-winded lecture on logic and rationality yet fails to deliver logical consistency
- Consistently "tells" instead of "shows"
- Use of historical philosophers and philosophical constructs for character naming is lame and fails to achieve apparent goals of the author
- Conversations are long-winded and fail to provide speaker clues
- Word choice is often pretentious and out-of-character.
- Excessively describes the obvious (honestly, we don't need pages explaining key encryption)
- EVOLVE the plot, instead of shouting it at the reader right from the beginning.
First off, this book needs SERIOUS copy-editing. The typos, doubled words, repeated short phrases, grammatical errors, inconsistencies, and other errors are found on nearly every page. It's a real chore to read the book and turn a blind eye to the many mistakes. While it is obvious that a spell-checker has been used on the text, it needs real human eyes to edit it. The incomplete sentences are annoying, and the copy/paste editing failures are numerous. The run-on sentences are rampant, with numerous "gems" like this one: "As Bocardo raced towards them they reached for the guns slung loosely over their shoulders and tried to level them into firing positions as they prepared to challenge this odd looking couple who were approaching a prohibited area without prior notice having been given to the guards."
The next major problem of the book is that the author argues for the strength and power of logical, rational thinking yet fails to maintain logical consistency throughout the book. The most annoying of the inconsistencies is that of place: Is the bulk of the story taking place in England, as most commonly stated, or is it taking place in the entirety of the European Union? Or is it taking place in America? If Luther is the head of England, then call him Prime Minister or some such other appropriate title, not President. If in the future the leader of England and/or Great Britain is now called President, then as an author you better dang well explain somewhere in the story how such a nomenclature change came about. If Luther is, instead, the leader of the European Union, then perhaps it is appropriate to call him President, but then why is he determining policy for just *one* country in the European Union? Why is Luther's Security Chief, Eric Chain, "obsessed with his own role in American mythology" and "rolling on the floor laughing" at "reports broadcast to millions of AMERICAN households" if he's British, living in England, in a story that doesn't take place in America??
I question the location consistency of the story so harshly because I got the distinct impression that the author originally placed the story in America, then changed his mind and decided to place it in England. It reads like Farringdon just did a massive search/replace instead of going through the book and consistently editing the change of location.
The entire book reads like one long lecture/rant, which is such a shame because it is obvious that the author has a valid social commentary to make, albeit one that is placed in a not very believable cultural and political environment. If you are going to use a plot that revolves around compulsory pregnancy as a metaphor arguing against government intrusion into private lives and draconian enforcement of regulations, you MUST make it believable. As a reader, I *want* to believe that whatever I am reading actually *could* happen, especially when reading dystopian novels. As a reader, I found myself thinking of dozens of ways to achieve the goal of increasing the birth rate WITHOUT forcibly impregnating women, which made the authority of the plotline itself suspect as I continued to read. If you really wanted to create a good dystopian plot centered on a woman's choice, it would have been far more creepy and eerie if Luther's government had chosen to do things like secretly infusing the food supply with fertility drugs, government "grants" for child birth, etc., the stuff of good conspiracies, you know?
I was irritated at the choice of character names. Seriously, as an author, NEVER EVER try to be cute and clever with character names (unless you are writing a fantasy). It was apparently - badly so, actually - that the author was trying to tell us something about each of the characters by choosing names that represented specific philosophies and philosophical concepts. The historical Luther would never have chosen forced pregnancy, especially on unmarried women :) Darii is a representation of a syllogistic argument, yet the character Darri has a predilection for 18-year-old twin girls and thinks threatening to "paddle the pair of you" is "tough-guy talk" like Mickey Spillane while hacking government computer systems using the name of Apollo ... are you kidding me?
By the way, it's just not very believable that 18-year-old twin girls who aren't concerned with anything more intellectually challenging than splashing water in a swimming pool would use words like "Helios" and "melanoma"... characters should *sound* like themselves.
Choosing to name Barbara's three sisters, Baroco (yet another syllogism mnemonic), Borcardo (perhaps a homage to the mathematician Henri Brocard?), and Bramantip (and another mnemonic!) was confusing. The names are just too similar and since all of the sister characters fail to be fully and distinctly developed, it creates more confusion for the reader.
The only names I found nonirritating was the name of Barbara and her alias of Bellona. Bellona (Roman goddess of war) was not only an appropriate alias for her to use, it was BELIEVABLE that the character of Barbara would *choose* that name for herself.
I won't bother getting into the flat, cookie-cutter character development...
Having said all of the above, however, I do want to mention that the ONLY reason I am bothering taking this much time and space to criticize the book is because it has potential. A lot of potential. The use of a metaphorical plot within a dystopian world setting for social commentary purposes is always laudable. The general idea behind the book (forced pregnancy, etc.,) has the potential to develop into a really creepy plot, one with much room for devious twists and page-turning angst. Farringdon has something to say that has the potential to be highly thought-provoking, and it is abundantly apparent that a lot of thought and work went into writing the book, something I always appreciate. I truly do hope that Farringdon chooses to rethink and rework his plot, and go over every single word with a fine-tooth grammatical comb. I would look forward to rereading it then.
It's just the execution that fails, miserably. This book, as it is, is at best a rough-draft. At worst, it's a waste of time.
One final thought: For those reviewers that audaciously compared this to "1984," I question if you ever even read "1984." There is zero comparison between the two.