“And indeed, compared to other animals, humans are born prematurely, when many of their vital systems are still underdeveloped. A colt can trot after birth; a kitten leaves its mother to forage on its own…Human babies are helpless, dependent for many years on their elders for sustenance, protection and education.”
_ excerpted from A Brief History of Mankind, Yuval Noah Harari.
Contrast the above passage with the one below:
“They are different. They are born with super – knowledge. They are so clever that it is frightening. You see, their every year is biologically equivalent to our 6.25 years!
Everything in the Altklug world is hassle free, systematic and disease free. That is because everything – the trees, the rain, the snow…is created or engineered as per their technical data. Everything is deliberate, adult and controlled.”
_excerpted from Revolt of the Lamebren, Manjiri Prabhu
Both the above excerpts refer to the same creature – man. While one refers to his history; the other is a speculation of what he may become in the future.
The stark contrasts between the two excerpts from these two different books clearly brings out that man has come a long way from being just one of the vulnerable animals somewhere in the middle of the food chain in the past; to making progress by leaps and bounds in the present; and the second excerpt goes on to make an intelligent (and creative) guesswork of what he may very much become in the future due to the unstoppable technological advancements and changes being made in the present.
It is a strange coincidence that I started reading both the above mentioned books at the same time. And while I’ve already completed the novel by Manjri Prabhu, I‘ve yet to finish the non – fiction. However, the focus of this review is Manjiri’s dystopian novel and so let’s take a closer look at it.
First things first, Manjiri is a highly imaginative and gifted writer. Not only that, she’s also courageous in exploring a topic she is curious about or wants to study.
Revolt of the Lamebren is a story of a futuristic world which is devoid of real human emotions and feelings. It works super-efficiently but lacks human warmth. The story starts off slow but soon picks up pace and goes on to nudge, provoke and compel the reader to think what may happen in the future, if man in his quest to conquer diseases and other human limitations (just like the Altklugs in the story); loses his power to feel. It also gives us a glimpse of another more cruel side of the futuristic super-efficient man: his total disregard for those who are different and vulnerable (the lamebrens) and how he would stop at nothing to eliminate them. At the same time, this is a story of daring and human survival and how the so called ‘imperfect’ people fight out the injustices meted out to them by the superior majority.
The author’s style of writing is simple, endearing and with attention to detail. The prime protagonist, Zinnia’s character is well etched out. However, I could not connect to some of the secondary characters in the book. In fact, there was a bit of a confusion in my mind with regard to the names of Zinnia’s friends. I could not keep a tab of who is who except Iris, Preceptor Sven and the twins. However, what I found fascinating about the book was the fast – paced narrative, the various twists and turns introduced at exactly the moment when the reader may want to predict the next course of action and the extremely creative terminologies used in the book to show how language may also evolve in the future. For ex., people may no longer have names but numbers. Tech terms may more and more become common expressions. The author has invented/ used some interesting words like, ‘Knowledge Port,’ ‘Server,’ ‘pic–chip,’ ‘padlets,’ etc. which help create images in the mind of the reader and visualise the future world. The story kept me glued till the end, well actually, this is only the beginning. This is first in the Super Dome Chronicles series and I’m keen to know what happens next.
Author(s): Manjiri Prabhu
Release: June 2018
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