Tag: sci fi

Short Story Sunday: Halfway to Free by Emma Donoghue

Halfway to Free
Series: Out of Line collection
Author: Emma Donoghue

Published:  September 1, 2020

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: February 1, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Short Story Description:

Miriam was raised in a society without children. To offset the devastation of climate change, state-of-the-art birth control has made daycares and playgrounds things of the past. As tempting as the government inducements are to remain child-free, Miriam’s curiosity about the people who “drop out” of society to become parents grows. When she finds a like-minded partner, she must choose between the rewarding comforts she knows and the unknowable mysteries of being a mother.

Emma Donoghue’s Halfway to Free is part of Out of Line, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

Jessica’s Review:

Taking place in 2060, I would rather this short story be a full-length novel as all the beginnings of a dystopian tale will leave the reader thinking.  The world that Miriam lives in is overpopulated and having a child is looked down upon.  NOT having a child is the acceptable choice and only the extremely wealthy or celebrities procreate.  There are even government incentives, support and more to stay child free.  This includes having health care, housing, and even employment.  There are still those that go against the grain and decide to procreate thus losing everything. Those form their own communities to pull through together.

Miriam has come to a crossroads in her life with what she should do and what she wants to do.  She and her partner have to come to a decision.

This short story really makes you think with everything going on in this dystopian world, why would someone want to have a child as there is so much to lose.  This story with its ‘anti-children’ stance parallels what goes on in our world today if one does not have a child, whether due to life circumstances or health reasons. 

I really hope that Donoghue decides to expand upon this short story, there is so much potential here!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audiobook Review: Resilient: Survival is Everything by Toni Cox

Resilient: Survival is Everything
Author: Toni Cox

Narrator: Juliet Jones
Published: June 4, 2019

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 12-14, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

My name is Erika and I am the last human on Earth.

The Simian S1 Virus wiped out everyone, leaving me alone in an Africa that is suddenly not as friendly as I remember it.

Amid trying to deal with the death of my parents, finding shelter, and looking for food, I discover horrors I wish I had never seen.

Haunted, hunted, and scared, I only have one thing going for me – I am resilient.

Jessica’s Review:

**Please note that Resilient was published in April 2019, which was before the CoVID Pandemic reached and changed our world forever.**

Resilient is my first novel by Cox and it did not disappoint! I enjoy dystopian, apocalyptic novels where people fight for survival from each other or from other creatures and with Resilient we get both! 

Our narrator is Erika and she lives in South Africa as does Cox. Erika tells us her story and I was pulled in the entire time.  What seemed like the flu at first and Erika woke up alone and it had been a week and then she realizes everyone is dead. She can’t find another single person!  This disease killed extremely quickly.  The beginning of Resilient was reminiscent of the first episode of The Walking Dead with Rick Grimes waking from his coma completely alone.

Erika is alone and we experience that with her. Being alone for an extended period is enough to drive a person crazy, luckily Erika is not totally alone after a while: Hello, Morgan the dog!!!  Morgan was my favorite character after Erika.  And whenever Morgan was mentioned, I feared for him.  I kept thinking “Please don’t hurt/kill the dog!’ 

We see Erika struggle to survive and stock up on supplies for herself.  In the beginning for  Erika, it was  seemingly weird to go ‘shopping’ and not pay for your items. Erika is smart, resourceful (OMG she thought to go to a library to research things she needed to know!), and has a strong drive to survive. In fact, she IS Resilient.

Erika was also very fortunate with her surroundings. If she had not had her parent’s house it would have been a completely different story.  Eventually Erika comes across other survivors in various forms and then it becomes a battle to survive against each other. The novel goes in several different directions that I was not expecting that truly shows how much Erika grows over the course of this novella. I really liked Erika and was rooting for her the entire time. Though short, this novella covers a lot and is also a complete story. 

I received an audible copy from Cox. Many thanks for it as I enjoyed going on Erika’s journey! 

I fully enjoyed Juliet Jones’ narration as she really brought Erika to life for me. She will be a narrator I will be on the lookout for!

If you enjoy dystopian novels, I would recommend Resilient for you! 

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK



Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles
Ray Bradbury

Published: June 1, 1984
192 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The strange and wonderful tale of man’s experiences on Mars, filled with intense images and astonishing visions. Now part of the Voyager Classics collection.

The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

Kim’s Review:

This is my first Bradbury book and it was brilliant!! Pretty sure ole Bradbury understands humanity to the same extent that Orwell did. The Martian Chronicles is a look at humanity as a whole and its effect on everything. Humans ruin Earth, so they go to Mars. Humans ruin Mars, so they start to miss Earth. Humans go back to Earth and they abandon Mars. And all of this is told in an anthology of stories, starting with early, unsuccessful expeditions to Mars. Oh and he definitely starts with Martians who in some ways, have the same problems as humans. It’s just a fascinating read from start to finish! And for being on the philosophical side, it’s surprisingly easy to read as well. Even those who don’t really like sci-fi, would like this book. This is one that I would require for high school students to read; there is much they could learn and use to make themselves better people. I loved it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK