A Short Tale of a Dystopian Far Future

Fiction - Dystopia
31 Pages
Reviewed on 09/20/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite

In a world where humanity has saturated planet Earth, there’s no time or place for any activity that doesn’t actively support the efforts to sustain the population. Art, philosophy, even the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake is deemed nothing more than idle self-indulgence. Derek 100771 is not like everyone else. He’s not satisfied with his job preparing corpses for recycling or his nightly VR sessions with Melandra 111891. Life is a strictly regimented routine passed down to him via the organizer implant in his brain. Travel times are calculated down to the split second and any deviation must be accounted for. One on one real life conversations are strongly discouraged and monitored for word count and key word violations. But Derek is willing to risk re-education to have a few seconds conversation, a habit that leads him to a discovery that changes everything.

Clabe Polk’s Devolution delivers the reader into a dystopian future that is more terrifying than anything I’ve read before. I felt that this nightmarish world provided a thought provoking narrative on the possibly disastrous consequences of humankind’s hubris and sense of self-importance. The details of sustaining an overcrowded population through intensive recycling, shared sleeping quarters, constant work, and limited face-to-face social interaction ring with accuracy. Some of the dialogue between Melandra and Derek felt a little unnatural, but this is only an issue between these two characters. The plot takes an interesting turn when what should be a disaster instead becomes the reader’s hope for this world’s salvation. Devolution is a chilling story that will linger in your thoughts.