Dystopia at its best

cover art of the resistanceGemma Malley’s The Resistance is an incredible piece of literature. I think this should be studied in school, it has the potential to be the next Brave New World or 1984. The novel deals with a lot of social issues, and critiques society in a way that will have young people thinking. I have several ideas for essays I could write about this book, and it would not be difficult for a high school English teacher to create lesson plans for it.

This is the second book in the series, but I read this one first since my library doesn’t have The Declaration.  The book is successful as a stand-alone but I imagine it is even stronger if you have read the first book.

The Setting

In 2140 the world has an aging population, who are  living forever with the assistance of medication. Drastically extended life spans have resulted in overpopulation and a lack of natural resources. In response to these issues laws are made regarding procreation, which quickly becomes illegal and standard of living is reduced as they make room for progress by giving up homes for small apartments. Illegal children (called Surpluses) are kept in prisons and taught that their existence is a sin.

Plot

Peter and Anna grew up as Surpluses but they have been given legal status (this adventure was presumably the plot of the Declaration) and now they are trying to fit in among the general population. They are mistrusted and mistreated because of their youth and begin to question why they wanted to become legal. Peter takes a job at Pincent Pharma

The company is responsible for Longevity+ – a drug rumoured to reverse the ageing process. But there is more to the drug than Peter and Anna could have ever imagined

He takes the job with the intention of spying on the pharmaceutical company for the rebels, but his co-workers are persuasive about the benefits of eternal life and he loses track of his goals.

The Issues

  • Technology artificially lengthening lives
  • The importance of the circle of life, the fresh ideas of a new generation
  • Greed
  • Pharmaceutical conspiracies

Why It’s Awesome

…a few hundred years ago, many countries in the world considered slavery to be a perfectly sound way to run businesses and households. A bit like the attitude towards Surpluses now…Many people lost their lives fighting for these rights – to vote, to be free, to work, to be able to get on the same bus as someone considered their superior. And it was the next generations who embedded these changes, who came to view women as equals to men, who came to understand that skin colour his of no relevance. Young people are the future. Without them, the world stands still. ( Malley 117)

  • It recognizes that young people have potential, and encourages young readers to make the most of their lives
  • It combines the issues of dependency on technology and an aging population seamlessly
  • It is a fast-paced, action-filled novel
  • Well written
  • Compelling characters who are naive, gullible, or cocky
  • I love a book that examines human nature

Who It Will Appeal To

  • People who like dystopian science fiction
  • Young people who feel oppressed because of their age
  • Religious people (Even though I’m essentially an atheist) because it leans towards religions being right
  • Conspiracy theorists

Overall

I was fascinated! I was interested in the ideas, I thought the plot flowed nicely, I cared about the characters…basically awesome.

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