Full disclosure, I was provided a copy of this book by the author, however, I have voluntarily chosen to write a review. All opinions are my own.]
an incognizant utopia a hero emerges
On the planet Pearl light years away from mother Earth colonists have settled to escape the world that they have outgrown. With their every need taken care of by the Creators hundreds of years ago, the colonists live their days idly, languishing in the meadows or by the river. Food is prepared and distributed in equal portions like clockwork and even housekeeping chores have been totally automated. Life is simple and unstressed, but with no responsibilities the colonists have regressed to nothing more than simple minded creatures driven by lax and occasional pleasure.
Among the colonists is Samuel, who has started to notice that the colony is beginning to not run as smoothly as before. It may be that a door that was once always open is now tightly locked or a rain shower that continues for days; but in all these instances Samuel observes a hero step forward to solve the colonists’ problem. As the challenges increase and the heroes disappear Samuel finds himself taking on the role of “hero”. With each new challenge, Samuel discovers clues that lead to the notion that his settlement may not be the only life on Pearl. As he ventures out of the settlement’s preset boundaries Samuel makes a discovery that changes the way he views his life. But armed it this knowledge, can Samuel return to the colony and the status quo?
Our Dried Voices by Greg Hickey focuses on a distant future after all obstacles have been removed. In a world where there is no more sickness, or disease humans flourish…. but that is a problem. With the population spiking, other challenges arise that push Earth to the brink of extinction and thus the Pearl colony was formed. While Pearl at first feels like a utopia as the colonists want for nothing, an argument can also be made that the colony is a thinly disguised dystopia. When one no longer must think for themselves, one quickly becomes lazy and dependent on their surroundings. Humanity has been reduced to the mentality of babbling children where even the simplest of speech is few and far between and the only concerns are when the meal bells will ring again.
Hickey does an amazing job depicting Pearl and her inhabitants. As Samuel works to solve problems and venture further out to the boundaries of the colony I was reminded of “Lost”. I also really loved how there was little dialogue in the book which further helped to illustrate just how society had regressed in the aftermath of their colonization. Using primarily Samuel and then also Penny as focal points in the larger colony helped to keep the reader focused on the perspective of the “heroes” and helped to drive the story. Having finished this book for a few days now, I still find myself thinking about certain situations or aspects. Our Dried Voices is definitely a story that will stay with the astute reader for long after the final page has been turned.
If you are a fan of Science Fiction, Dystopia or stories that will leave an impact for a long time to come, Our Dried Voices would be a great book for you.