Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review:  Whores: not intended to be a factual account of the gender war, by Nicolas Wilson

Say in the near future men's rights get a real foothold in the U.S. political arena and women's reproductive rights take a plunge. Not a controlled dive, but a hit-the-bottom-of-the-quarry, backbreaking dive. Would a lot of women fight back? With lethal force? In Nicholas Wilson's "Whores" we are treated to a dystopian near-future U.S. in which they do. As the gender war progresses, the reader gradually hears the chilling personal tales of the fanaticized women in one particularly active cell.

What I love about near-future speculative fiction is that it functions as a "what if...?" If it is well done it offers us a mirror for subtle commentary on contemporary society while at the same time offering an exciting story in which readers get some tantalizing glimpses of where science and technology might take us. `Whores' emphasizes sociology over hard sciences and technology to an unusual degree, as it successfully gives a number of freedom fighters unique voices in a society that has shut them out. Frankly, it was all pretty horrible, as it was meant to be, and that made `Whores' a surprisingly compelling read.

To the author's credit this is far from a one-sided story although it is hardly even-handed: there are good and bad men and women and likeable and unlikable police and terrorists. On the whole it seemed well balanced, although it would have been nice to hear something from someone functioning in society but not part of the actual warring parties.

There is a lot of crude language and violence, including sexual violence, in `Whores.' That's my warning, because otherwise I strongly recommend `Whores' to anyone who wants to take an enlightening trip into what I hope is an alternative future we'll never reach.

Whores, a fascinating work of near-future speculative fiction, is available at:

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