It's tricky business writing about rights and government control. And it can go well or it can go wrong. Like, really, really, wrong. Like, "What the hell were you thinking?!" wrong.
But, when done right, it can be an interesting premise, yeah?
So. The end of the world has come and gone. Maybe it ended with a bang. Maybe with a whimper. Or perhaps a sneeze. In fact, a sneeze is usually a good way to go, if we're going with government control of your reproduction rights, a virus seems to be the favored way to wipe out humanity. Maybe it's a virus that kills of newborns. Maybe it's one that only affects females. Whatever the virus does, it's usually present and for society to continue, the government has to step in and lay down the law.
THE LAW OF YOUR UTERUS.
And here, here is where things get tricky.
Jude Outlaw by Jan Springer
Rating: 1 of 5 stars (and retreating ovaries, for good measure.)
Okay, let's get one thing out of the way, really quick. This is a short, erotic story. Except, despite the intriguing ass shot on the cover, I AM NOT TURNED ON. In fact, I spent the entirety of this short story unturned on. It's a thing. It happened.
The government has ordered females to be claimed. There's just simply not enough of them to go around, thanks to a virus some terrorists let loose that was supposed to make them submissive, but, you know, killed them off. Ouch. So, the only logical thing to do here, is round up all the surviving females and pair them off. With groups of men. GROUPS OF MEN. There should also be videos taken. Proving that the female has been claimed and has had every orifice stuffed full of manmeat. And if the female resists? WELL TOO DAMN BAD! Ladies, ask not what your country can do for you, ask: HOW MANY PENISES CAN YOU TAKE FOR YOUR COUNTRY? Every hole! FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY.
It's bad. It's so bad.
So we have Cate, who, along with the rest of the female population, depends on a vaccine to keep the killing sub virus at bay. And she is BUSTING OUT OF HERE. She is not sitting around waiting to be claimed. She is stealing a boat and getting the hell out of dodge. Except for Jude. Jude finds her. Jude, who was her once upon a time love, and has plans to exchange her to another band of brothers for information on his missing brother, but NOT BEFORE THEY DO THE DIRTY. MULTIPLE TIMES. Because he still loves her! And he doesn't want to share her! Nor give her away! BUT HE WILL TALK ABOUT SHARING HER IN THE MIDST OF THEIR REUNION SEX. And then he has the great idea to run away. Despite the fact that she was already fleeing and he stopped her. And they'll live a life full of sex. CONSENSUAL SEX. SEX THE GOVERNMENT HASN'T ORDERED. That Cate wants. WHETHER SHE KNOWS IT OR NOT.
I don't know, guys. I just don't know.
Partials by Dan Wells
Rating: 4 of 5 stars.
But here. Here it's done right. Well, as right as government sanctioned rape can be done.
Unlike Jude Outlaw, there's more to the story than just "quick, impregnate ALL the females."
Humanity has all but been wiped out by the deadly RM virus, which may have been released by the Partials, a group of manufactured, human-like killing machines the government once created to fight wars for them. Until they turned on the ones who created them. There's a lot of guesswork as to where RM came from, but the small percentage of people left are immune. Their babies, however, have not. They're so not, in fact, there hasn't been a baby that's lived past 4 days in eleven years. So, the government decides the only solution to this, since a cure hasn't been found, is The Hope Act. Forced impregnation. Everyone 18 and up has to be pregnant as often as possible, in the hopes that a baby will one day live. Basically, they're throwing shit at a wall, hoping eventually it will stick. Females can pick between pairing off on their own or being artificially inseminated. So, while no actual rape-rape takes place, their bodies are not their own and control is stripped from them. They are walking uteruses (uterusi?) and little more.
But, as I said, there's more here than just "HEY. EVERYBODY GET PREGNANT. ALWAYS. ALSO. WE'RE GONNA GO AHEAD AND LOWER THE AGE ON THE HOPE ACT. ALL 16 YEAR OLDS, YOU HAVE TWO MONTHS TO GET KNOCKED UP. OFTEN." There's a rebellion, The Voice, who isn't so happy with the government. There's the Partials and the moral dilemma after our protagonist, Kira Walker, and a group of friends, captures one to study for a cure to RM. There's a corrupt government to deal with and Kira's confusion about herself, her past, and what she wants for her future. There's just a lot of layers there, with survival at the center. Also science! Who doesn't love science?
|Okay. Maybe Channing Tatum doesn't like science.|
But everyone else, WE LOVE SCIENCE. AND WE LOVE LAYERS.
Also, there's some laugh out loud funny lines that keeps things from getting too serious. In fact, Marcus, Kira's boyfriend-not-boyfriend-okay-maybe-boyfriend-again-but-not-now-maybe-again-in-the-future, regularly made me snort. He's a funny boy, that Marcus.
"Sorry I'm late, Jayden. I had a meeting that got a little heavier than I planned. Very hot and sweaty by the end. You were a major topic of conversation, though, in between bouts of passionate --"
"Just skip to the part where it's my mother," said Jayden. "and then I'll do the part where I tell you to go to hell, and then we can maybe get on with our jobs like we're supposed to."
"But I'm going to tear myself away and find Marcus."
"Give him a kiss for me," said Xochi.
"Not too much. I don't want to seem easy."
Done right or done wrong, one things for sure: if I make it to the future? I'm getting a hysterectomy.