Publisher: Silverwood | Publication Date: 26th June 2015 | Edition: Kindle | Genre: Dystopian
I liked this – A LOT. It offers an edgy, well-plotted and unnerving snapshot of a fictional society.
Given today’s craving for the next profile ‘like’ and daily updates we all seem to be compelled to comply with, this plot doesn’t seem too implausible. Imagine a world where you can lose or gain points at the drop of a hat if an online status update is not deemed popular enough. A real time popularity contest that can affect your quality of life is a frightening concept.
Whatever points you have gained through posting your updates are accrued as ‘Fluence’ until the next ‘pay day’. The grand total will be converted into a colour-coded status for the forthcoming year. This can determine where you shop, your choice of partner, and the area in which you live – class segregation is common place…
Some of the impoverished and vulnerable are stressed out by the constant need provide interesting status updates in exchange for Fluence on their ruyi, a portable mobile phone-like stick everyone carries round. Sounding oddly familiar yet?
There’s so much at stake for the characters here, and their posts have a danger of becoming outrageous to draw in the crowd. Often the need for more likeability points goes hand-in-hand with an ugly greed. This book singles out the most demeaning acts that people are willing to carry out to ‘achieve’ their goals, all driven by a desperate need to become a better ‘class’ of person, which is quite ironic. These acts are described in graphic detail, but this only reinforces what people are willing to sacrifice.
The two main characters, Amber and Martin, are part of a disability assessment team. They determine if people are fit to work, or if they can be funded by their government. Austerity cuts state that assessors should not declare people as unfit if they can help it. Here enters the dilemma of gaining more Fluence points for great job performance, or wrestling with their conscience and helping those less fortunate. But life’s not that cut and dry, as power-hungry people with their own agendas are watching…
Throughout this book you will see people gambling with their morals to gain a few points here and there. It’s fascinating to see the end result and how they cope with the pressure being piled upon them. With everyone making a scramble to improve their situation it begs the question, just how far would YOU go?
All credit to the author for his shrewd people observation skills and for holding my attention from beginning to end.
(My thanks to the author and Brook Cottage Books for offering me a place on the tour, and for giving me the opportunity to read this fascinating book. )
Official book blurb:
Amber is young and ambitious. Martin is burnt out by years of struggling. She cheats to get what she wants while he barely clings on to what he has. It’s the week before the annual Pay Day when strata positions are decided by the controlling corporations. The social media feed is frenetic with people trying to boost their influence rating while those above the strata and those who’ve opted out pursue their own manipulative goals.
Fluence is a story of aspiration and desperation and of power seen and unseen. It’s a story of control and consequence. It’s the story of the extremes to which Amber and Martin are prepared to go in these last ten thousand minutes before Pay Day.
Author Bio / Buy Links
Like each and every one of us, my perspective of the world has been affected by many people and experiences: as a teenager I was heavily influenced by the ethos of punk; in my early twenties I embraced the squatter scene and then joined a religious cult, briefly; I did some computer stuff in what became London’s silicon roundabout; and I’m now a civil servant with a gentle attraction to anarchism. I really enjoy taking a sideways look at our world and thinking, “what if,” and then writing about it through speculative fiction.
Buy the book: Amazon UK
Want to win a Digital copy of this book? Just click on the link below and enter via the Rafflecopter page:
*** PLEASE NOTE – THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER ***
Thanks for stopping by x