Dell Zero Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B00MJ7UJ5S
- Publisher : Carol L Ervin (August 6, 2014)
- Publication date : August 6, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 1937 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 236 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,008,041 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The concept of a "Utopian" system where everyone lives forever, always in harmony, while working toward a common goal is one that a great many people would love to experience. This tale, in its statement of "be careful what you wish for", brings the cold water of reality into the equation. Here, the citizens do live forever. However, each succeeding "transformation", where they regain their youthful state, is a little more difficult to withstand physically than the last. In addition, one forgets most of one's personal past, as well as the societal past. In fact, the past is mostly ignored as well as the future, and only experiencing the present is important. Increasing dependence upon drug-based methods of achieving everlasting youth, health, and emotional stability is a problem in this society. Also, almost all personal goals and betterment are ignored; after all, one day is the same as the next. Because of this lack of drive toward betterment, personally and societally, the society starts to stagnate and fall apart from within. Sex, procreation, and intellectual improvement are all forgotten; they are not needed. In fact, they are frowned upon.
Now on to some areas where the reader is left in confusion. First, while there is reference to "The Beginning", and even "Before the Beginning", there is never any revelation about it; how did this whole thing get started? Next, this city consists of ten areas (circuses), each with multiple buildings. The whole thing is called "The Chapter". It is surrounded by a wall, though partially in disrepair. So are there other "Chapters"? Is this the only one? What caused this whole physical construct to come about? Then there are the "outlaws". Why does the society hunt them, unless it is only for the slave labor? Where did they come from. How did this dual society come about? It is faintly reminiscent of the Eloi and the Morelocks of "Time Machine" fame, but just barely. Finally, there is the history of the "newborns", including Dell. It is inferred that most were originally young outlaws, yet this society has no concept of children; so how and where did these newborns grow up? For Dell herself, there is a suggestion of a possible origin for her, but if it were true, then where did she grow up from infancy to the time when she found herself outside with the herders? Of course there are many more unanswered threads, but these are a good sampling.
Perhaps Ms. Ervin writes at too deep of a level for me to understand or enjoy. I guess I am not a big fan of a book that raises so many questions with so few answers. There is no crime in making the reader think and come to their own conclusions, but is not my favorite type of book. This is not a quick read, nor should it be if one is to fully contemplate the deeper themes that seem to be present.
Looking at the other reviews, I seem to be in the minority here as to my opinions. That being said, your experience may differ. It is obvious Ms. Ervin has quite a talent for writing. Whether one enjoys such writing is left to the individual. For me, I would prefer not be left so confused at the end of a book with so many unanswered questions, especially when a series continuation does not appear to be the motivation.
Dell is the protagonist, 0 might be described as a generational name. Inhabitants of this society have numbers to describe how many times they have undergone a “transformation,” a process that extends their lives. Theoretically, nobody has to die. There is a cost; it seems that those with higher numbers (like 356) have difficulty remembering their previous lives. That might be due to the transformations themselves or it might be due to the drugs prescribed and ordered for all the population in order to maintain a docile society. There is Vitasat, that keeps workers on track by encouraging passivity, there is Vitamood which makes everyone at all levels feel good, Vitapurge which brings on the transformation and prolongs life, and Vitacure for curing illnesses and speeding up recovery from wounds. Additionally, there are nutrition packs which may have a drug and the requirement that everyone wears a wristscreen with a communication or tracking portal so that aberrant behavior can be dealt with through the administration of the appropriate drug.
There is no need for population control; this balanced society has zero births and zero deaths. There would be no story if there were no outlaws. They exist but they do not want to live in the well-regulated societies. They have access to the same drugs, but a few don’t want to take them. Fewer drugs and lower dosages allow the reappearance of free will. Those with free will recognize the injustices suffered by those assigned to lower order occupations that will never allow for advancement or recognition of potential. One of the byproducts of the outlaws is people like Dell. The number zero means she is a “natural,” a person in a society so structured that sexual reproduction is not practiced, advocated, or remembered. She has yet to be subject to the transformation ritual. Dell is not pleased with this. Since she is unregistered, she can’t travel freely. She can’t visit the cities and has to avoid capture by bands of catchers. Were she to be caught, she would be transported to the city, receive a wristscreen and portal, have drugs administered to her, and would be assigned a job. Perhaps she would be a med-tech but she might also be assigned to duties in security, transport, creative activities, fabrication, or the mines. This last is to be feared, miners are the lowest caste; it is more punishment than an assignment based on merit. These negatives cannot be appreciated by young Dell. She looks forward to capture and welcomes it when it happens.
Fortunately for Dell, there are some drugged denizens who are becoming increasingly aware of the flaws of their society. They look at people like Dell as a hope for a better future. Dell works in a more competent fashion, voices more opinions, and finds solutions to problems more effectively than her very much older drugged colleagues. One rebel, Oliver, shows her how to survive as a worker without attracting the attention of guards. Dell admires another rebel, Renggo, who seems to have no function other than to create chaos. John, a med-tech, and Pomeroy, both a med-tech and a pharma-analyst, begin to watch out for Dell in a mentor type relationship. Another fortunate point in Dell’s favor is a breakdown in the availability of drug supplies that assure compliance and bliss for the general population. Fewer drugs give rise to increased self-awareness which leads to a swelling of the outlaw or resistance population.
As the ideal society breaks down through a series of accidents and breakdowns, the reader will see the reemergence of human nature traits that are not desirable. Senior security officers Hercules and Atlas vie for power. The pinnacle of power is the Landlord. When the reader gets to the chapter in which the landlord is described, the reader can judge the value of perpetual life. Will the reader make the same choices as the characters in the book? That is not possible because the characters make varied decisions. Which character(s) would the reader follow?
There are not a lot of surprises in this story. There are a lot of well thought out “what if” situations. If you are the type of reader who likes Soylent Green (a movie) or Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, you will probably enjoy this book.
One of C. L. Ervin’s works in historical fiction, The Girl on the Mountain, encouraged me to read this book. I intend to read more of her work in that area.
As a reader I wish I could have seen the point of view of Rengo and known his story a little more. By limiting the story to Dell (the main character) and John (a med tech who is part of the system) the story felt like I was in a fog, and the fog didn't lift much even at the end. While this may have been the author's intent, it distracted me from the story. Part of the story got a little confusing with so many different characters and I spent a bit of time trying to keep track of who was who since personalities weren't necessarily distinct overall. However, those issues were minor.
I would recommend this book for anyone who questions what dangers might occur if we give ourselves up to the idea of feeling "good" all the time and not allowing ourselves to feel pain.