This is not The Hunger Games. I feel that distinction has to be made early on because I was very close to dismissing The Stars Never Rise as such and putting it down because the beginning is the same, albeit more brutally realistic. A neglectful mother who is rarely seen or heard, a big sister who has to do everything she can to put food on the table and clothes on their backs while also taking care of her younger sister. The Hunger Games was “just” a dystopia, this is also urban fantasy. Demons are walking the streets wearing humans like clothes while quietly consuming their souls.
“Cordon sanitaire” is a sanitary cordon used to confine the infected with a highly contagious and deadly disease to a specific area, quarantining them away from the general population until everyone inside either dies or survives, allowing the disease to die out. This technique has been around for centuries. Photos are available recording how the cordon was implemented in Honolulu’s Chinatown in an outbreak of bubonic plague in 1889. In August 2014 cordons were used in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – the African countries most affected by Ebola.
My read for Banned Books Week was certainly apropos. Fahrenheit 451 shows you the results of a book banning society. A scary, ignorant and shallow world where brutality and casual violence are everyday events done in the name of entertainment; a regressive and disabling move in social evolution, handicapping progression by limiting knowledge and encouraging selfishness.
Plot summary: A US naval warship is secretly being tested for deployment which is actually a ruse to prevent the crew from finding out about the true nature of their mission. They’re carrying two secretive Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists who are working on a cure for an airborne virus that had only affected a handful of African villages, but after four months at sea it’s wiped out 80% of the world’s population including the United States government. It has a 0% survival rate and is highly contagious. All governments have ceased to be and the crew of the warship are on their own.
Kinda makes you think of the Ebola crisis, doesn’t it?
And World War Z.
Human beings tend to cling to convenient obliviousness – ‘I haven’t seen it, so it can’t really exist!’ – in spite of embarrassing, burgeoning bodies of evidence to the contrary. In order for this comfortable bliss of ignorance to be maintained, it follows that any flagging up of the problem will be met with denial: so naturally you get accusations of lying, or exaggeration. These aren’t always intentionally unkind – I think they’re often motivated by a horrified inability to accept the severity of the problem as by a deliberate attempt at dismissal. – Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism
This quote explains perfectly the ignoring of all the warning signs in The Plague, especially by Dr. Rieux and his colleagues. A stampeding immigration of thousands of infected, dying rats doesn’t raise an alarm, really?!
Men fucking chickens. How…? Why…? [You can thank me for the mental image later. Or better yet, type that sucker into Google and go blind.]
You’re voluntarily imprisoned every other month in exchange for jobs, shelter and a full stomach, but you can’t wait 4 weeks for sex? And you’d choose a live chicken before another man?
I’d rather have gay sex than be guilty of bestiality. Those poor chickens.
Apart from deus ex machina (so it’s 4½ ★), this was a brilliant read. Killing off a much-loved character is a brave thing to do and in this instance it was beautiful sacrifice worthy of that character, if heartbreaking and gory.
The level of grace displayed by Kate in both her physical battles and in her position as alpha, fighting for the people that depend on her and those she deeply cares for, is inspiring. And as always, Ilona and Gordon always bring the funny.
It took me by surprise how much I loved this classic and how eerily relevant and applicable it is considering today’s politics, Britain’s in particular. The Arab Spring is also a good example of a modern day Animal Farm.
I highlighted this one to death. In pencil, of course. I’m not a barbarian.
Holy fucking shit, Batman! Holy fucking shit! *SPLAT!* My brain has exploded. I am blown away by the awesomeness of this little book.
Firstly, I owe a huge thank you to Lyndsey’s review for inspiring me to read this because HOLY CRAP, HOOOOLY CRAP! This is the dystopian book to end all dystopian books. Doesn’t matter if you think this sort of thing isn’t for you, or if you’re disillusioned with the genre.
Never trust history.
Never trust doctors.
Never trust scientists.
Never trust technology.
Never trust blanket medication.
Overall my experience with this book was like meeting and falling in love, being excited and happy, then slowly finding out that he’s not perfect. He drinks out of the milk carton, he ignores you in favour of sports events and when you finally get his clothes off he’s as smooth as a Ken doll but insists he can still have children. Then finding out he’s right he can make babies, just not the same enjoyable way everyone else does, which is confusing and unsatisfying.