The world is constantly changing. Technology seems to be creeping into every aspect of life. It goes without saying that the future seems to be a world where its influence would definitely be more prominent than ever. But can progress be such that the world of our future ends up becoming a dystopia in reality? To imagine of such a world is quite frightening, but it is more so when one sees the current world and realizes that we might actually be headed in that direction. Stephen Oram’s novel Fluence brought out such a thought, such a world, such characters; and perhaps that made it both likeable and dislikeable at the same time.
Fluence is the story of struggle in such a dystopian world, but mainly that of two characters. The world is governed by strata levels named after colors, the lowest, the outliers being white and the highest being red. One character seems bent to rise up the strata levels, toward more powerful colors and more luxurious lifestyles. The other character is not hell bent on rising up the levels, as long as he doesn’t fall down them. For determining the rise & fall of a person’s strata, points are given, based on performance. Amber wants to gain points and is determined to reduce the number of people who have registered as disabled in order gain those points. Martin, on the other hand, finds that he’s losing points for no particular reason, and is in danger of falling, so he does what he needs to find out why.
One can look at characters and their motives and the story that’s built around them. Yes, that’s interesting too. But to be very frank, the characters don’t quite connect with me. They live their lives in their world that goes along at the pace the author narrates them at. For me, it’s the closeness to the world that is current that makes this dystopian read more frighteningly realistic. There are people in the higher echelons of power that influence the lives of those who are considered beneath them in the grand scale of measuring life. There’s this extreme obsession to live life in the comfort of social networking, where the worthiness or worthlessness of any event is determined by the number of ‘likes’ that it gets, and not by the significance of it to the life of the one who shares it. And that obsession slowly turning into apathy, oh yes, that feels quite relevant as well.
The author’s descriptiveness makes it quite easy to visualize the world he writes about and creates, and the pace of the novel is neither too slow nor too fast, making me turn the pages just to know what’s next. At the end of the read, there’s this nagging feeling that there was something missing, but one that I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s the inability to connect with the characters, or that rat race life in general, I don’t know. But the author does leave me with something think about, and perhaps read again.
|Author: Stephen Oram||Genre: Dystopian Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: B00ZYDU69I||Publisher: Silver Wood Books|
(© 20th May 2016)