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Outlaw School Paperback – November 7, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (November 7, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380792508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380792504
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,408,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Brilliantly extrapolated, all-too-probable . . . Shelve this alongside 1984 and The Color Purple : it's that good." -- -- Kirkus starred review

About the Author

Rebecca Ore is the author of Gaia's Toys, Slow Funeral, and The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid. She works in internet administration and lives in Philadelphia.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Middle class Jayne knows what is expected of her by society. Conformity is the name of the game for girls like Jayne if she wants a "happy" life one-day with an all seeing spouse. Her legal alternative is state control drugs to keep her from thinking. Her other option is becoming a Judas girl.
However, instead Jayne becomes pregnant and is sent to a rehabilitation center where wayward girls are mentally placed in Cyberia. Jayne wants nothing to do with legal society and escapes into the OUTLAW SCHOOL, where teaching occurs without a state-sanctioned license. If caught by the News Agency wing of the government, Jayne and ilk will need rehabilitation for committing such a terrible crime against the state.
If OUTLAW SCHOOL seems like the heir apparent to Huxley's 1984, it is. The story line is grim as society is totally class bound with no hope for non-elite talented risk takers. Jayne is a fabulous protagonist who dares to dream. The alumni, staff, and students of the OUTLAW SCHOOL add to the overall harsh depressing landscape by acting as a counterpoint to the acceptable norms of society. Not for everyone because the plot is somber gray, Rebecca Ore paints a hellish technological future with upper class big brother in full control.

Harriet Klausner
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Nicholas Keppler on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ore presents her version of a not-too-implausible future. All information and knowledge is under strict copyright and how much one has access to is determined by their authorized social rank. Computer programs run against "meat" polliticians. Society gives out medication and even surgery like candy to children with undesirable traits. The book's heroine is Jayne, a middle class kid with unconcerned parents. Alienated at school and showing a thirst for knowledge undesirable for her class, her school prescribes her mind-bending, behavior-modifying drugs. To get off them, she allows herself to be impregnated, which causes even more rejection and disapproval from her society until she is institutionalized. Bitter and enraged by her conformist society, an older Jayne joins an outlawed teacher syndicate, teaching such banned information as the psychology and computer systems to all of society's bottom feeders in the hopes that they can improve their lives through the education society feels it best they not have. This book is a perfect mix of the Bell Jar and 1984. Ore merges a surreal backdrop and many very believable characters, easy to be concerned about. The previously mentioned concept about computer programs running against people for government positions is particularly clever. If we are accepting of our leaders being so obviously coached for public appeal and conformed to the establishment of parties, why not vote for a machine? The situations faced in this book are not only faced by denizens of the early twenty-second century but by all whom hear the first period bell Monday morning. It's honestly the best new book I have read in many, many moths.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Diamond on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Clumsily executed, poorly edited and pandering to contemporary paranoia surrounding the state of the American family, education system, government and media, this novel utterly fails to construct a coherent, compelling vision of the future. Instead, the reader is haphazardly bludgeoned with images of totalitarianism, oppression and mutilation. Today�s problems with these institutions are very real, as is the threat of eroding civil liberties and the blurring of lines between media, government and monolithic corporations. But this novel does nothing to illuminate, preferring to resort to superficial criticism and sarcasm. Disguised as social commentary, Ore�s ham-handed predictions regarding the future of "open source" are just another obvious attempt to cash in on present-day fears. Plagued with poor characterization, disconnected plotting and uncountable editorial errors--including misspelling the main character�s name on several occasions--the book is a painful, utterly unsatisfying read. The ending feels tacked on: a pat, ill-conceived attempt to justify the life of the main character. Equally unjustifiable is wasting any time reading this annoying, sloppy work.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Travisji Corcoran on December 4, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's something about an author writing dystopian SF that makes it very clear where he or she sees the dystopia coming from, and some of the feminist dystopias (see also The Gate to Women's Country and The Handmaid's Tale) seem to reveal the authors' minds as a bit claustrophic and extreme: does anyone seriously beleive that lurking just below the surface in America is a would-be patriarchial theocracy? Ger real.
After gritting my teeth against this insinuation in the first chapters, I was able to enjoy Ore's book more - it's clear that she's not the same sort of small-horizoned author as some others. When she dragged in the Open Software sub-plot, I got more engaged.
The problem with her writing, however, is that the threads never tie together too cleanly - a reader is lefting feeling unfufilled, as if the interesting action all takes place off stage. This is remniscent of the feeling I've gotten reading some of (William ?) Barton's SF.
I kept wanting to know how the society she envisioned came to be, what *exactly* went on with the Open Source underground, etc.
Instead, I got a lot of impressionistic strokes on a large canvas. Very well done, for what it is, but it didn't deliver what I look for in a novel.
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