Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review: The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

How would you like to  live in a world where everyone is thirsty?  There is hardly any water and electricity.  To make up for the lack of water inhabitants are given gel packs.  They don't really get rid of the thirst, but they help keep everyone alive.  And the electricity?  Everyone is given an allotted amount a month.  Most people save their electricity to power their screens.

What are these screens and what is so important that people would rather use their electricity for them than for such things as air conditioning and heating?

Casey and her family have the option of leaving the dystopian society they live in for one full of lush green grass, food, and most importantly water.  But, doing so they pay a price.  They become not themselves, but an avatar, a computer generated program living in a computer generated world.  Sounds wonderful to get rid of the pain and the thirst of the real world.  When one reaches the age of seventeen they are allowed to sign a contract to enter the world.  Most do.  Casey's parents did not and will wait until Casey signs before they go in to live with her and her older brother who has already left for that world.

The screens are their way of contacting those on the inside.  They're not called computers but they function very much like the ones we have today.  They're everywhere--hand held and all rooms of the house.  They're not glued to them so much as they have become their only way of communication, especially to the utopian world they can escape to.

Casey is unsure if she will sign the forever contract to move into this world.  She's always dreamed of going but the distrust of her boyfriend James causes her to hesitate and find out what that world is really about.

This novella written by Avery Sawyer deals with this dystopian society.  I do think it's creative the two worlds she has created, but the story itself seems lacking.  It does not go into as much detail as I would have appreciated.  I think there is enough detail to take this from a novella to a full-fledged novel and that if was that I probably would have appreciated it more.

The ending feels very dues ex machina.  How are Casey and James going to get answers and punishment for what they have done which I will not share here so I don't spoil the story if you plan to read it?  The answer given is such an easy out, like the author has run out of ideas to come up with a true ending.  There's so much that could be there that isn't.

I give the novella two stars for it is a very promising story, but it promises much  more than it delivers.

I read this as review request using the Kindle app on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

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