The Simplest Of The Things

Every time I sit down to write I can’t sort my thoughts into one streamlined blog post. I just feel like my brain is way too full lately. So this is going to be a simple post about a book series I just finished and now I want to own.

If You Like Dystopian YA…

Huntsville City Schools had Scythe by Neal Shusterman on the summer reading list for 8th graders in specific classes and we had a copy at the library so I checked it out on a whim and then desperately and impatiently waited for the rest of the series on hold. I finished it last week and it officially takes the top spot of my favorite YA series ever. I’m desperate to own it now. It’s unlike any other dystopian series in that humanity is exactly feeling like utopia. They’ve been rendered immortal by technology and all they have to worry about is a supposedly honorable class of citizens who “glean” people periodically to handle population control. It’s supposed to be humane but obviously a few bad apples always spoil the bunch.

This series posed a bunch of fascinating questions I’m not sure I’ve seen primed for discussion in such a way. I want to eavesdrop on all of the teachers discussing this book/series. Here are just a few of the questions it posed:

– If humans have been rendered immortal by the presence of nannites in their blood, how do you handle population control? This world created the honorable position of SCYTHE which is basically a reaper…but what if they don’t do the job with honor? And how do you outline “rules” to legalize murder?
– How much power should an omniscient AI have? How does this AI make decisions when it’s only job is to “preserve humanity”?
– What makes a deity in a religion? What creates the faithful that follow it? What happens to the moderate members of a religion when extremists do terrible things?
– What is it like to be worshipped? How do you try to use your power for good and not evil?
– What truly is the right move to make when the good for the many outweighs the good for the one. And more importantly…what if you’re only *mostly* sure (but not 100%) the good of the many will be the end result?
– Can you ever be 100% sure about anything? Even with infinite calculating power at your fingertips?
– What is evil? Can people change?
– What happens if your deity stops talking back to you? How do you find your way?

SO GOOD.

It’s not like the wave of dystopian fictions from the Hunger Games years in that there’s no love triangle. (YAY!) There’s not even much of any love story. There are some relationships but some of the most profound ones are friendships, or mentorships. The few seeds of romance are not even a tertiary focus of the actual plot or character development. You’re not reading it for the romance, is what I’m saying. Which is a refresher from so many other YA dystopian series’.

Supposedly it’s already been purchased by Universal for a movie and both of the script writers that have been tied to it are good so if either one of them stick with it I’m optimistic. It’s SUCH a good story and there are SO MANY good “movie moments” throughout the series so I think seeing it on the big screen would be pretty spectacular.

Anyway…I can’t sort out the other shit in my head but book recommendations I can still dish out.