The Crimson Meniscus, by Jason Werbeloff
Genre: Science fiction
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
The Crimson Meniscus is a collection of six science-fiction novellas.
It’s a world that is divided into two parts: The Bubble and The Gutter.
The Bubble is a place that is populated by the privileged, who have everything at their beck and call–organ donors, included, whenever they feel the need to change any of their organs, or even abort their grown-up children when they become an inconvenience.
The Gutter, on the other hand, is a place that’s precisely what it means–a gutter that holds in itself the “scum”; people who aren’t privileged enough, or matter enough to be given a chance at a decent life.
In these two worlds, you will find stories that seem unimaginable to us living in the 21st century.
There’s a father who puts up his daughter on the stock market.
Marriage is, actually, a union of two bodies–a physical merger between the two partners–so that one of the partners will look and sound like the other, even have the other’s teeth visible in their mouth!
There are abortions carried out on children well into their twenties when their families feel they have become a nuisance to them.
People in the Bubble wear smart-clothes that can change color; smart-glasses that give them any and every information they need, even help in hailing a taxi that is actually a hovercar–almost every article in The Bubble hovers in space–furniture included.
Here, the orphans living in an orphanage, pay off their debts by giving away their organs to the privileged and spoilt residents of the Bubble. Organs, which are then replaced with cybernetic parts, for the orphans to live with.
It is in such a dystopian world that live characters from these novellas, living a life that is beyond our wildest of imagination.
The Crimson Meniscus is a dystopian world where ethics, morals, and beliefs are conspicuous by their absence.
For the residents of The Bubble, life is all about their wants and needs that are met by those living in the Gutter, especially through their organs.
They have it all–wine fountains, grass that is clean and green, and a space that is far removed from the squalor that those in the Gutter live with.
Those living in the Gutter aren’t even aware of what grass is! Their wretched lives are all about surviving in the dirty, squalid world, till death embraces them.
The book reminded me of the Hindi series I saw last year, “Leila”, in which there were two such, similar worlds people in the future reside in.
One that is for the privileged, and the other for the “scum of the earth”, who has nothing that could make their lives worth living.
Stories set in the future somehow appeal to me. I have always wondered how our future will unfold.
Technology will, obviously, be the one calling the shots; humans will have lost any sense of humanity, and survival will be only of the privileged (not the fittest)!
There are scenes, like the one about organs being harvested, where it takes a lot of strength to go through. When organs are being cleaned and scrubbed by the orphans to be implanted into the Bubblers.
There is blood and gore that is sure to make you squeamish, if you aren’t a fan, or made of sterner stuff.
And, it takes that much strength to even imagine humankind stooping to such level, you will wonder if the future generations will even have any moral standards!
WHAT I LIKED:
I started having fun with this genre ever since I watched the movie, Interstellar.
Frankly, I did not understand a lot about the movie–the language, the life in space, and the concept of living in space for more than a hundred years without age reflecting on your body.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed it for the vivid imagination the writer and the director brought to the screen.
It’s also what kept me hooked to this book.
It’s, after all, a world we haven’t seen or experienced. But it’s certainly a possibility that the future might live with.
And, it’s always this uncertainty, this drama and this romance of something as-yet-inexperienced that appeals to us, humans!
WHAT DID NOT APPEAL TO ME:
The questions that came to my mind as I read this book.
Is this how humanity will turn out to be, centuries from now? Is this how life will turn humans into–immoral, heartless, dystopian?
If it is so, then, well, I am glad I won’t be around to witness it!
If sci-fi is a genre that enthralls you if blood and gore don’t affect your mind, and if an unconscionable way of life doesn’t make you nervous, then go ahead, enjoy these six novellas.
I am certain it will leave you in a state of wonderment long after you have finished reading it all!
I give it 4.5 stars.
*This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info