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The Enclave (NewCon Press Novellas Set 1) Paperback – February 13, 2017
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Caleb and Lexie have both been deemed unworthy for the cognitive implants that most natural born people receive to enhance their abilities. They eke out a living in the Enclave, a violent, gritty slum community far from Manchester’s hub. With a nod to current events, Caleb is a young illegal immigrant who had to flee Spain when climate change rendered his home virtually unlivable. Caleb and Lexie work together, but though they have a stronger bond than normally found in subordinate-boss relationships, the nature of their reality makes it hard for them to trust anyone.
Charnock writes what I think of as science fiction for grownups, stories in which realistic (if often futuristic) characters and thought-filled themes are as important as her high tension plots. While The Enclave isn’t exactly a sequel to A Calculated Life, those who’ve read the first book will recognize Jayna and her coworker Dave in a brief encounter they have with the characters in this novella. Even Dave’s bees make an appearance.
One thing left to explore in this world is the lives of the elite--the natural born (not lab created) humans who have been equipped with cognitive implants. They have best jobs and the nicest homes, but I wonder how life in this tenuous world would feel to one of them.
I received a complimentary copy of The Enclave from the author, with no obligation to write a review. Review opinions are mine.
This novella is a stand alone construction. Written in the world of ‘A Calculated Life’, it is a total independent creation featuring new characters and a different view of a much larger world and reveals life at the bottom of the heap in late twenty-first century Britain. The book can be considered a companion piece of this dystopian civilization and shows us just what it takes to survive.
There is no connection to the other books in this novella series, plot wise or character wise, the first two having been written by Alastair Reynolds, Simon Morden. and Charnock's being the best so far in my opinion. The writing style harkens me back to perhaps early Andre Norton books where a young main protagonist tells their story.
Highly enjoyable book and highly recommended.
Marked as Volume 3 of set 1 of Newcon Presses novella series (4 volumes)
Don't worry if you haven't read Anne's previous work, this is a highly accessible and standalone entry point.
The Enclave by Anne Charnock is an excellent novella. Charnock builds a highly detailed picture of a not-too-distant future world which intersects advances in bioengineering and technology (eg neural implants) with human complexity (refugees, poverty, human trafficking, refusal to assimilate, etc). It's a not too rosy picture of the future, and entirely plausible. The characters are well-developed and you can't help liking them, or at least sympathizing with their lack of choices. I found myself caring for the characters and the story stayed with me long after I finished it.
Summary: Highly recommended to readers of dystopian fiction (eg Wind Up Girl by Bacigalupi).
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book via LibraryThing in exchange for a fair review.
The greater issue is the development of the main character Caleb who undergoes a remarkable personal transformation over a fairly brief period of time, all while he is 12 years old. It stretched credulity that such a transformation could be affected so quickly at this age. With Caleb as narrator it seemed also that the book was reading as YA fiction.
As confusing was a narrative shift in the middle of the work to Lexie in the middle of the work. While this was useful to provide an adult's perspective of this world of Charnock's the shift also created a second story line that was unresolved at the end of the work.
My thanks to LibraryThing for a review copy.