A Handmaid’s Tale Clone
Vox by Christina Dalcher
The premise behind this futuristic novel is that the government requires all females to wear a bracelet that counts their words. They are limited to one hundred words a day and receive electric shocks each time they go over that limit. They also are restricted to their homes and not allowed to pursue careers.
Scientist Jean McClellan refuses to go along with this edict and finds herself getting shocked on a regular basis. She also is deeply concerned for her young daughter who is becoming more and more withdrawn, almost reveling in how few words she uses at school each day.
Then Jean is contacted by the President because, before women were taken out of the work force, she did scientific research on brain waves. The President’s brother has recently been brain-damaged in a skiing accident and is in need of the serum Jean was developing. Permission is given for Jean to have her bracelet removed and to renew her lab work.
Attempting to extend the reprieve as long as possible, Jean reconnects with two former scientists were also were working in her field, and the three of them begin plotting.
This novel obviously is taking advantage of the popularity of “The Handmaid’s Tale” with its focus on the subjugation of women in the future. However, “Vox” does not do nearly as good a job of carrying this theme. From the poorly-developed characters to the too-convenient ending, this is second-rate futuristic fiction.
Kerry Pettis is a retired elementary school teacher and children’s librarian who has lived in Broomfield since 1975. Reading is her favorite occupation.