I took the time to read Vox by Christina Dalcher. Her novel is about a dystopian America where women of all ages have been silenced, allowed to speak only 100 words a day. Our protagonist, Dr. Jean McClellan an American linguistic scientist, (so ironic) saw the signs of the political storm but did nothing as people do when warned of a pending Hurricane.
The change came quickly. A resurgence of something called the ‘Pure Religion’ allowed our government to take women back into the stone age. They could no longer have jobs. Any money or bank accounts they had were transferred to their husband’s accounts. Passports were revoked. Reading and writing in school was reserved for the boys. Damn!
Before things took hold the women revolted against such nonsense by protests and voting, but this was taken away too. To ensure women stayed silenced (they can’t be watched all the time you know) they were given a non-removable bracelet that counted the words spoken each day, resetting at midnight. Any words spoken over 100 results in an electric shock, the voltage getting stronger with each word over the limit.
Children were not spared. They are able to select a very colorful bracelet of their choice, (oh how sick) and as an added bonus while learning how to cook and clean in school, they received a gift, if talking the least while in class.
The results were women silenced by the bracelet, children silenced by the bribe of gifts in school. They had no idea what they gave up for not speaking. That was scary to me. A generation of young women learning to be mute while the older ones silenced by stun bracelets or just taken away in the night. (They do come and get you in the cover of the night)
Horror for me was the personality change of the doctors teen son. He turned into a supporter of the pure movement just by reading their propaganda in school, deemed required reading if you want the best college prospects. A normal kitchen conversation turned pure movement when he tells his mom to stay in her place and just remember to buy the milk.
The story takes hold when the country’s top Science Linguist Dr. Jean McClellan herself, is called into service by the President. Now she is needed, but for how long? I liked the decision she made, which affected her whole family. This novel is very timely for America today.
Four Stars from me on this one.