Author: Christina Dalcher
Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian
Format: Paperback 384 pages
Release Date: 21 August 2018
My Rating: *****
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
About the Book
Dr Jean McClellan is an American linguistic scientist and mother of four living in an America no one could foresee. Or could they? All the signs were there: women’s representation in the government dwindled away to almost nothing, women’s rights and freedoms decreased at an alarming rate, and yet somehow, people willingly go along with these changes never for one moment believing things will get as bad as they do.
‘Woman has no call to the ballot-box, but she has a sphere of her own, of amazing responsibility and importance. She is the divinely appointed guardian of the home…’
It all started when by order of the ‘Pure Religious Movement’, all females, even infants, are fitted with a ‘counter’ which restricts the amount of words the wearer can speak each day to 100 words. For every 10 words spoken over this limit the wearer receives an electric shock which increases in severity.
‘All those things, simple and ordinary, that we assumed we would never lose’
Jeans husband, Patrick, is an adviser to the President, and when the President’s brother is involved in a skiing accident, because of Jean’s prior professional history and her husbands close ties to the Presidency, she is asked to join a team of research scientists to find a cure.
At first Jean refuses, but when the offer to remove her counter and her daughters counter is offered, how can she refuse?
You can pre-order your copy of ‘VOX’ on Amazon at:
I thought about trying to write this review in 100 words as an homage to Jean’s character and to keep with the limitations placed on her, but to be honest, 100 words just wouldn’t do it justice! I feel I could write an assignment worth of words on the topics covered in this book. I think the book is very current in its thought process, dealing with topics such as corrupt politicians, radical zealots, oppression and human rights. These are all things that at any given time grace the news headlines the world over.
I really enjoy dystopian fiction as I find it gets me thinking and pondering the ‘what if’ scenarios that arise when reading a book of this genre. What if I were only allowed to speak 100 words a day? What if my daughter had to grow up in a world where she could only speak 100 words a day? Would I fight back? Or would I go along with the rest of society and suffer in silence rather than cause a scene?
‘You have no idea ladies. No goddamned idea. We’re on a slippery slide to pre-history girls’
I have seen this book advertised elsewhere as recommended for readers who enjoyed ‘The Handmaids Tale’ which is what initially piqued my interest. I would agree with this statement and a lot of similarities can be drawn between the two books.
I sincerely hope the future represented in this book never becomes a reality, and I highly doubt that anything on this scale could actually happen, but it did get me thinking. The most important aspect I kept referring back to whilst reading this book is that fundamental right we all have. In America it is held within the First Amendment Right but here in the UK it is enshrined in Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998:
‘Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers’
Lets all never forget this right and lets all go out and read VOX as it really is a great read!
About the Author
Christina Dalcher earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University. She specialises in her phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects and has taught at universities in the United States, England, and the United Arab Emirates.
Over one hundred of her short stories and flash fiction appear in journals worldwide. Recognitions include the Bath Flash Award’s Short List; nominations for The Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions; and multiple other awards. She teaches flash fiction as a member of the faculty at the Muse Writers Centre in Norfolk, Virginia.
Follow me on Twitter @BooksBucks