Posted by Literary Titan
It’s the 22nd century and the world is overpopulated and under-educated. To combat this, the government has decided that male and female students will be segregated for their first 22 years of life. They will have no knowledge of the opposite sex or of their parents. Finn is a brilliant and questioning student, but his intelligence leads him to test boundaries and break rules. When he enters the real world he meets Angela, and they have a son, Leonardo, who awaits the same fate of separation. But Finn cannot let go of his son that easily, and he begins to tread on very dangerous ground…
The Separation by Thomas Duffy is a dystopian speculative fiction novel. Duffy has written a story with a fascinating premise, and some hefty themes are handled deftly by the author. Topics of religion, sex, gender and class are woven through the narrative, and many of the questions posed are philosophical ones such as ‘what is really important?’ and ‘what constitutes a ‘good’ life?’ There are interesting reflections on the complexity of human desire, governmental control, finding meaning in the world, and whether career or love is more important–all of which feel quite relevant in today’s world.
Finn makes for a very likeable hero, behaving in ways which are extremely relatable and understandable considering his circumstances. Duffy has written an empathetic protagonist, which isn’t always the case with dystopian fiction, and I was really rooting for him throughout. Some of the other characters, including Angela, remain quite one dimensional which limited me in really believing in, or caring about, her relationship with Finn. I would have liked some more well rounded female protagonists, but perhaps this was a technique used by the author to represent how detached the sexes are.
The book is written mainly in the third-person limited narrative with the focus on Finn, but we get insight into Angela’s thoughts and feelings too which helped me to feel slightly less detached from her. The writing is full of dialogue and at times it is weighed down with exposition—unfortunately, this made a lot of the dialogue feel quite heavy handed and not particularly natural. I particularly struggled with the conversations between Finn and Angela which were lacking in real emotion. Again, this could have been a mechanism used by Duffy to portray their stunted development when it comes to relationships/the opposite sex and communication. Despite this, the narrative moves at a fairly steady pace. I enjoyed watching Finn’s misdemeanours unfold, and there was plenty of action and intrigue to keep me turning pages.
Overall, this is a fascinating addition to sci-fi/dystopian fiction which might leave you in a slight existential crisis! It throws up profound questions about what is truly important in life, and if this sounds a little too intense, there are also lots of unexpected twists, turns and excitement to keep you on your toes.
Pages: 306 | ASIN: B078YRNM8M
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Posted by Literary Titan
In The Wagon Driver, Earth is overcrowded and Kyle’s job is to collect bodies for government disposal, but soon learns of a more nefarious reason why he’s employed. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?
I initially wrote this story in the mid-nineties, when I was working at AT&T in Lake Mary, Florida. Computers had already begun taking over, and the Y2K phenomenon was being considered globally. My imagination, as usual, went into overload, and I began having dreams about the Government using technology to move into the home, take over completely and systemically select who would be permitted to exist and who would not.
Kyle grows up an in orphanage and I instantly felt the isolation and loneliness that he felt. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
Being an orphan as well as a loner, Kyle has never felt the bond of friendship before and frequently uses humor and sarcasm to disguise his shyness. When he meets Allie, he thinks he has developed his first true friendship, but when he realizes she has let herself become just another cog of the System, he feels betrayed. And when both Allie and the System turn against someone who could have truly become his one and only friend, he knows he can no longer stick around because he will eventually cease to exist as well.
Do you think over population is a serious concern today? What do you think are the causes and solutions?
I think it is a major concern, especially in many other countries. I don’t want to get political here, but in this country we could eliminate much of it ourselves, without Government intervention. However, I really can’t see it happening.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am currently working on a Christmas novel entitled, Yesterday’s Journey. It is a fantasy, and should be ready to be published on Amazon and Kindle in early or mid November.
In the not-so-distant future, population control becomes a necessity. Turning eighteen, Kyle Sonnet leaves the State Orphanage and becomes an employee of the Department of Population Control. As a wagon driver, he follows the ambulance to emergency calls and collects bodies for Government disposal. However, it isn’t long before Kyle understands that, due to the collapse of the healthcare system and contrary to what he has seen on the news, euthanasia has become the universal solution. But when he suddenly witnesses a horror he cannot accept, Kyle is forced to decide whether to become another pawn of Society or risk escape, which will result in certain death.
Posted in Interviews
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