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Chilling yet humorous social commentary on futuristic world
on March 24, 2016
“Then he’s unconscious. Then he stops breathing. The heart goes last.”
A wacked, absurd, comical novel that becomes obvious satire as the novel continues. As I read this book, I initially took it very seriously, trying to connect with the characters, understand motives, etc. However, by the end with the sexbots, possibilibots, Elvises and Marilyns it became obvious that the book is entirely satirical and meant to be comical. It also serves as a cautionary tale of “be careful what you wish for.” Having someone who loves you only because she has had the laser treatment may not be so fulfilling and rewarding in the end. Perhaps loving someone so completely is easier if you think you’ve had a brain surgery to make you do so.
I was so excited to embark on this novel after reading the premise: a couple destitute in this futuristic world decides to sign up for “Consilience,” a social experiment, where you spend alternate months in a prison and in a home with stable jobs within the confines of Positron. Their relationship becomes strange and a whole lot of sex ensues, none of which is really sexy. Their freedoms have been lost by joining this program and they have seemingly signed their own personalities away as well. They become different, much more superficial in their needs and wants. It’s almost as if having decisions made for them is appreciated, especially on Charmaine’s part.
In sum, I enjoyed the initial unravelling of the exciting premise. This segued to the drudgery of the mid-section where the characters are acting like robots and no one is very likable, and finally to the last portion which is an overwhelmingly satirical picture of the future where no one is happy having an ordinary relationship or partner, but instead seeks out a paid or modified companion.
I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood. This is the 7th novel of hers that I’ve read and maybe my 6th or 7th favorite of them all. She’s an excellent writer and this is humorous/chilling social commentary, but I didn’t connect with it as well as I have some of her other novels.
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