Friday, November 22, 2013

*The Captives*

Captives (The Safe Lands #1)

As a science fiction/dystopia lover, I found the premise of Captives to be intriguing. I recently read Partials by Dan Wells.

A theme that both books share is the lack of healthy babies being born in their societies, and the desperate measures the government is enacting to try to correct that. 
The idea that the majority of people wouldn't be able to reproduce at will, that suddenly the freedom to delay and prevent conception would morph into the inability to achieve conception and produce a healthy child has frightened people for decades. 
The book The Children of Men P. D James is a classic, from what I've heard, and began asking these questions in 1992. 
Today, with birthrates dropping drastically especially in developed countries, and with fertility being taken for granted by many healthy people, the idea of a world without babies needs to be explored seriously. 
With themes of betrayal, guilt, responsibility, and forgiveness between brothers, this book probes human relationships.
With questions of how to live in a society that is based on extreme gratification and personal liberation that is never reigned in, this book examines our own desires and excesses.
In the Safe Lands, almost everyone is doing drugs, including the expectant mothers. {That is always a frightening though, a society of addicts dependent on a substance and willing to do anything to get a hold of their fix. I first encountered a society like that in Ursula K. LeGuin's The Farthest Shore } 

The Safe Lands is also a world of ironies.
They have lots of sex, and produce no healthy children. 
They have much physical contact and yet no tenderness. 
There are many open relationships and no real love. 
They have lots of social activity and also terrible loneliness. 
Sounds a lot like us, doesn't it?
We are poisoning ourselves with the pleasures we choose. 
We are using our freedoms to knife ourselves in the heart.

Like Malcolm Muggerridge pointed out. "(The Western Man decided) to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, labored with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over--a weary, battered old brontosaurus--and became extinct.” 
That man was brilliant, and what he said is true. 

So yes, this is a good read for youth, with characters that engage and a plot that compels you to turn pages. I am personally looking forward to the sequel to find out what happens to Shaylinn, because she was my favorite character. 

If you go deep, and you talk about the book once you've finished it, and you bring out all the themes that Jill Williamson has woven in, you will have learned and pondered quite a bit. 
You will have used a story to spring-board a discussion about life and ethics and choices and morality. You will have let a story hit you and impact you, and that is when a story is at its best, when it helps you form convictions and think through ideologies. 

Thank you Booksneeze for my copy!

Jill Williamson

Jill Williamson is a Jesus following, chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the award-winning author of several young adult books including By Darkness Hid, Replication, The New Recruit, and Captives. She got into writing one day when someone was complaining about teen books and she thought, “I could do that! How hard could it be?” Very, she soon learned. But she worked hard, and four years later, her first book, By Darkness Hid, was published and won several awards. 

Jill is a Whovian, a Photoshop addict, and a recovering fashion design assistant, who was raised in Alaska. She loves teaching about writing, which she does weekly at She lives in Oregon with her husband, two children, and a whole lot of deer. Visit her online, where adventure comes to life.

No comments:

Post a Comment