Dystopia or rather dystopian imagery was bought sharply into literature with the George Orwell’s satirical novel ‘Animal Farm’ in which the characters became dehumanised. The novel was in many ways before its time, but now, in todays world of automation, robotics and ever-increasing technology, the dystopian world could easily be the world of the future.
Melissa Ferguson in her first novel The Shining Wall, has crafted an allegorical story set in the future when the world is a far different place to what it is now; a world where human life is of little or no value and robotic humanoids, cloned Neanderthals, rule Society.
Based on the very real tenants of the wealthy ruling society, the rest living in shanty towns and worse, Ferguson has spun a truly horrifying tale of what may be yet to come, should science eventually be uncontrollable, where technology controls survival and survival is once again, of the fittest, most cunning and sometimes the most ruthless.
Alida and her sister Graycie are orphans trying their best to survive in the world outside the city walls, the shining, gleaming walls of the ‘haves’, a world known as the Demi-Settlement. When in desperation and to try and get help for Graycie, who is suffering an illness, Alida finds she need to turn to crime, to enter the world behind the wall, a world of massive risk and separation, a world that may see them all die she is placing them and her friends into great and very real danger.
Shuqba is a cloned Neandertal officer, banished to the Demi-Lands because she simply cannot find the ability to be able to conform to impossible standards expected of her species. Shuqba becomes one of the more interesting characters, amongst the many, as she somehow has the fledging emotions that can help her make a choice, that can help the girls to freedom and security.
But as she has the element of choice, Shuqba could also become the very opposite and see their world disintegrate to finality. Will they be able work together to overcome inbuilt distrust on both sides to find a way towards a better future together?
Prescient, maybe, gripping certainly and one story that will have you pondering the very real possibilities of a dystopian world for some considerable time to come.