Monday, April 4, 2016
Reader's Review: "Dissolution" by Lee S. Hawke
Synopsis from Amazon:
What would you sell yourself for?
Madeline knows. She’s spent the last eighteen years impatiently waiting for her Auctioning so she can sell herself to MERCE Solutions Limited for a hundred thousand credits. But when the Auctioneer fails to call her and two suits show up at her doorstep, Madeline discovers there are far worse bargains to be made.
So when your loved ones are in danger, there’s a bounty on your head and your entire city might turn out to be a lie… what would you sell yourself for?
Holy. Buckets. Of. Feels. Hang on to your hats, folks, She's done it again!!
Last time I reviewed a book by Lee Hawke, I likened her work to Isaac Asimov, in both style, development, pertinence, and relevancy. This book, her first novella, only proves my point.
DISSOLUTION is a timely tale aptly predicting a future society "ruled" by a corporation of five companies, and the citizens thereof are viewed as "programs" or properties of the five companies. Her picture of the future is bland and dark--and controlled entirely through digital collars that become as necessary for survival as the human nervous system. A traditional symbol of slavery, these collars control a person's ability to taste, to see in the dark, to hear near-silent conversations and tune out dangerously-loud noise levels, to connect wirelessly with one another (sound familiar?)--and it gives the corporation complete access to their personal lives. There is no privacy in Unilox.
The story gripped me from the very start. It drew me into the world of Madeline, made me care about the outcome of all her choices. I gasped, I cheered, I reveled, I reeled--all the sensations and emotions were beautifully communicated through the words I comprehended, not painfully so, but just enough to compel me to keep reading. The taste thing was extremely fascinating; basically, food has been reduced to this hyper-nutritious sludge that comes in a tube, and it's only by the "taste programs" downloaded into one's "collar" that the tongue is manipulated into sensing different flavors based on which program is running--but it's all the same mass-produced sludge.
Hawke creates fascinating worlds and populates them with characters readers relate to in a very short space--a technique, no doubt, she refined in being able to do the same thing in the short stories of her first work, DIVISION (linked above). Most of all, she does a masterful job in accomplishing what I believe to be the three main purposes of writing: Informing the reader's perception of how the world works, instructing the reader's comprehension of heretofore nebulous concepts that are bandied about all day without any real understanding, and--most important of all--improving the reader's outlook on the dismal effects of rampant mistakes and general ignorance. In addition, Lee fulfills what I call the Three Main Roles of a Writer: She is a fully-aware representative of the world she is bringing to her readers; she is a fair and judicious reporter on the events she describes in her story, not wasting breath or jumping around in time for no apparent reason; also, one gets the sense that she is a fully-engaged ringmaster for all her characters and their struggles, orchestrating everything to its final outcome of the plot.
I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of DISSOLUTION. It gave me chills, it made me think, it made me wonder, it made me appreciate the world around me as it is now, it did not turn my stomach or make me cringe in revulsion--and it gave me hope. For those readers who like a good, solid dystopia but would rather feel like a participant than a third-party observing someone else's love life in the face of disaster--DISSOLUTION is the sort of book you've been waiting for. It's poignant, it's relevant, it's thrilling, and thoughtful. DISSOLUTION gets a full-on *****FIVE STAR**** Rating from me, and I can throw in a Upstream Writer Certified Definitely Recommended rating as well! Science fiction enthusiasts rejoice; your ship has landed.
Further Reading: (Sci-Fi Genre)
-The Way--Mary E. Twomey (and -The Truth, its sequel!)
-Sky Knight--Sandra Harvey
-Floor 21--Jason Luthor
-For None of Woman Born--S. D. Curran