- File Size: 2085 KB
- Print Length: 218 pages
- Publisher: HillelBridge Publications (December 15, 2014)
- Publication Date: December 15, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00OI8HGVQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,521,250 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Sex War One Kindle Edition
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Such are the opening chapters of Hillel F. Damron's fine science fiction novel, Sex War One. The world in which it takes place is sterile, both in its loveless nature and in the soullessness of its physical shape. Inside, in a utopian underground colony the last survivors of humans on earth live. Outside, the world is a barren and stony place without any life, the product of a long-ago nuclear war. Somewhere off world, real or imagined, are other human colonies; though none has contacted the Earth colony in generations.
The Monster is exiled to the bleak outdoors. In the struggle over whether or not to exile her, the colony's balanced but brittle social order breaks down and the colony descends into savagery.
Damron, a native of Israel where the novel was first published and achieved acclaim, originally wrote this book in Hebrew. Now it has been translated into English and is well worth reading. The story has echoes of the psychological conditioning of Huxley's Brave New World and the sense of the thinness of social veneer of Golding's Lord of the Flies. But ultimately its story is one of the power of love's triumph in even the emptiest of societies.
Sooooo, why not make it the primary component of the world of the future?
After all, people didn't connect love with sex anymore. They did it with anybody and everybody... but, hey, they really didn't want the possible consequences of having a child--you know, about whom you then have to go on TV to seek help finding out who the father is in order to pay for support...
Or just turn the child over to your parents to raise since you're too busy out having sex every night...
Or having your child taken from you because you're on drugs...
Ok, I'll quit explaining some of the reasons that by the time the surface of our world has been destroyed, there were some very hard decisions made by, no doubt, scientific professionals who could project the future and create the mechanical processes by which the human race would survive... especially the birthing machine...
Enter the underground life module of what may very well be the last humans on earth. There are just 40 men and women, plus children who are produced on schedule by a birthing machine process. Also plus the elderly who are sent away from the main functioning area, to wait until they die...
All the residents are genetically created to be similar in looks, though the women have been permitted small breasts... I don't know about you, but 20 Brad Pitts would be too much for me, especially when the 20 female versions are "almost" similar! There is no reason for comparison, jealousy, since all are equal in all ways and the group is governed by discussion and voting.
They use pleasure machines and are no longer addicted to the sexuality that had help to ruin the world. Since it was now anything and anybody goes, sexually, the bodies' drives are well attended to, while the pleasure machines are used to obtain/drain out necessary bodily fluids from which the birthing machine takes over, analyzing and selecting the best options for the next group of children to be born... There are no known fathers or mothers...the children belong to everybody, and are raised by assigned caretakers...
And then one day the infallible birthing machine allowed a "merge" that resulted in someone "different..." Many called her Monster and wanted her destroyed...
D.L. (all individuals are only known by two initials which have been assigned), the head of the birthing room as well as the council had made a decision at that time. He had saved her and isolated her to ensure her safety...
Now Z.Z. had grown and D.L. had changed. The citizens noticed, especially one woman who had her own dreams and desires... They saw that D.L. had developed a close personal relationship with the child...some equated it to love, of a parent and/or as a lover, which was now archaic--forbidden??
N.R. had approached the council to have the Monster murdered and kept prodding until she had approval... However, when D.L. agreed to handle it, he took her up to the surface...and left her...which meant that he had no proof that he had really killed her....
K.G., D.L.'s best friend had found, as archivist, a copy of the movie, The Dictator, by Charlie Chaplin. He had noticed a difference with D.L. as well--specifically as now he spent most extra time with Z.Z. as opposed to K.G. or other members of the community. But most of all he had noticed the changes in N.R.
For one, she had fought to have D.L. removed as the council leader and she replaced him...only to start making major changes, such as, decreasing the number of male babies born while increasing the females...
It was at that time that K.G. sought out D.L. to watch The Dictator, a 1940s movie, with him...and its effect on that small underground was forever changed...Unfortunately, when N.R. later watched the movie, looking to her future, she didn't realize she was watching a comedy, a farce...and took all of the potential negative things shown to heart!
Soon, K.G. had been murdered... D.L. set up a secret meeting to discuss what to do...
Please note that at the end with N.R. in charge, the sexual activities/actions are extremely graphic and violent. Some could be considered laughable if N.R. wasn't so pathetic...I consider this a definite adult book, not to be read by teenagers without guidance... Damron has created characters and a setting that forces readers directly into the daily actions of that underground world...and once it starts turning, it gets...dirty...
On the other hand, if you, too, are just as concerned as I am about teenagers and children being pulled into sexual issues far too earlier than they should be, then this is a quite an interesting book to provoke much thought.
Can we live without love, without togetherness, without families? Hillel Damron has placed sufficient emotional angst and shock value in our hands in Sex War One that is so tantalizing to today's truth (of where we are right now and why things changed in this future), that it is quite mind-blowing. Frankly I loved it! Highly recommended and perhaps even a must read for some!
Ebook provided for review
Sex War One takes place in the aftermath of a nuclear war, where all life is divided into perfect uniform colonies. These colonies are constantly seeking to improve in all things flawed, to the extent that they go against nature. They are aware that good and evil have not yet been eliminated in human nature and they recognise this as a flaw. We follow Underground-Colony B/365 and the Colony-Citizens within. In this world, the emotions and passions that humans naturally hold are gone right along with their individuality; they are qualities that are not understood in this world. There is no concept of love and gone is the natural conceiving of children or natural pregnancy. All babies are produced in labs and selectively bred. Men and women look alike even. So of course all hell breaks loose when our main man D.L. decides to keep and nurture the anomalous baby, Z.Z. who acts differently, thinks differently and looks contrary to the citizens. D.L. takes it upon himself to care for her personally, we can see from early on that this is a decision set up for failure. Z.Z. is nicknamed "the Monster" because of her nonconformity to colony life. D.L. quickly becomes questioned by the Colony-Citizens as soon as he starts treating Z.Z. as anything other than an experiment, the excuse he used to keep her. At the time of course he did believe it was an experiment even in his own thoughts but he quickly realises he has an attachment for the child. I found D.L.'s motivation for keeping the child in the very first place a little confusing considering the rigid and oppressive attitude of the colony and the attitude that has to be kept to by the Colony-Citizen individuals. I do understand that the attachment grew over time and perhaps just morbid curiosity is enough, as it is for most people in reality. This little display of human curiosity by D.L. shows that the Colony is not quite out of the grip of true human nature and warns of events to come. In fact, as soon as Damron described there being no individuality shown in society, alarm bells started ringing. You can't stifle human individuality without consequences eventually showing themselves.
The depth and appropriateness of this gender conflict theme struck me. With feminism taking off in new directions, equality being an ever questioned premise and sexism debates between both genders being laced into media everywhere, I found this book to be a timely and futuristic epiphany. In our current society the future of gender equality is being questioned, just as it is addressed in this novel. There are so many opinions and arguments for every side of what is 'right' or 'wrong' in the subject of gender and it was refreshing for this topic to be explored in a science fiction novel as the purely main topic. In science fiction there is usually some kind of reference to the differences in society, sex and gender because there are an important aspect of human life and so it has to be included. It is what the reader wants to read about, needing a futuristic take in fiction just as there are futuristic takes on weaponry, technology and gadgets.
I found it provoking that the dictatorship, stemmed from this eruption of personal feelings in a stifled society, came from a gender separation. Particularly as we are trying to move away from both matriarchal and patriarchal dominated societies, it really makes you question how equality will be achieved in our own future. Individuality makes all our opinions different. One person's genius is another person's fool. Despite best intentions, human nature - complete with human flaws and emotions - means that any search for perfection depends on the perspective of perfection. Damron questions the definition of perfection and where humanity stands in that definition. In Damron's example of our future, is it the flaws that make us such a powerful species? Z.Z. seems to prove this. The search for the answer to this question, "what is humanity?" in Sex War One leads to matriarchal dictatorship. The maintenance of this 'perfect' society was only achieved by each becoming an emotionless being with no individual spirit. There is no passion, no emotion. It is an almost mechanical living.
There are few aspects of the book that smack of dramatised versions of real historical dictatorial events and periods in history. The novel addresses new directions and uses of historical dilemmas and problems; ethnic cleansing, cloning, gender inequality. I thought this was rather clever as the emotions of the reader are transferred from the real historical events to the appropriate similar fictional event in Sex War One. There is also a link back to historical feminist oppression throughout the book that I found interesting. This historical oppression is essentially why N.R. - the antagonist we love to hate - makes the move towards matriarchy that she does. This is her flaw. The description of certain female characters being 'hysterical' - an old term that in its original meaning applied only to women showing any displays of emotion. Women who were described as 'hysterical' were usually found in a mental asylum very shortly after being told they were emotionally unstable. An element of the book also along the lines of a resurrection of historical female oppression is S.O's rape. Showing that even in this apparently more advanced matriarchal society, rape is used as a weapon in war. There is a conformity still to the old ways despite the 'new era'. So, how sustainable is a 'perfect' society if the human flaw is still within us?
One theme of the novel that I found unexpectedly rang true was the insistence of the colony that they needed to get away from nature. When I thought about that it occurred to me that yes, the more successful the human race becomes in reality, the further we take ourselves from nature. The more successful we become in almost anything, the more man-made our life that we isolate ourselves with. For me this seems a shame - I do love the bracing outdoors - but it actually worked as a realistic concept for the future in this book through this reasoning. This was the method behind their 'perfect' society. Although, this concept was created in the extreme when N.R. takes control. N.R. desires what she calls an "anti-nature".
I think my only criticism for the book is more of a false expectation, the expectation being that there would be more of a follow up on Z.Z., the outsider child. Z.Z. is an anomaly, different from all the others. She began all of the turmoil, creating the question that follows throughout the book, who is in fact the "Monster"? After the first chapter we don't hear from her until the last pages of the book. I enjoyed the link from beginning to end and I can see that the mystery of her life is part of the illusion of her 'outsiderness'. We are only meant to be concerned with the lives of the Colony and the developments there.
So, if you like disruption of the status quo through revolution with futuristic spins on real time issues this is the book for you. Throw in a few characters you love to hate and love to pity and you have Sex War One. For me at least, the overall message gleaned was that reading this book makes you appreciate the individuality we have around today. Without it, we get the plot of Sex War One.