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by Claire Wolfe & Aaron Zelman
Jeremy has a dream: To be the greatest lightmaker for the greatest west coast rock band, RebelFire.
But what can he do? He's just a kid. A kid trapped in a prison-like school. Trapped in a world where dreams are – treated – with drugs – and roving patrols make sure you take your dose.
Trapped in the Zone, where travel without a permit is impossible. Trapped under the all-controlling eye of spycams, sensors, and monitors.
Trapped by the chip in his wrist that regulates everything Jeremy can – or can't – do.
Trapped in a world where some far-off control freak can even decide what music you're allowed – or forbidden – to hear.
Jeremy's only choice is to shut up and do as he's ordered.
But some people were never meant to be controlled ...
[Out of] The Gray Zone will hopefully motivate young people to get involved in the defense of freedom. The book will also hopefully underscore the necessity of the older generations to convey the principles of liberty to those coming behind.
Gunowners of America
I am not going to tell you about the plot of this book. All you need to know about the plot is in the little blurb above the reviews. I'm not going to gush about how thrilling, engrossing, well written and vibrantly emotional this book happens to be -- though it's all those things.
I'm addressing this review to two groups:
Science Fiction fans, because this is the real deal, my fellow brothers and sisters in sense o' wonder. And to parents, because this is a book both you and your children need to read. This is a book about the world your children are going to inherit.
I won't lecture you on politics (neither will the book) but I'll extend you the benefit of the doubt that you are observant, thoughtful and interested enough in your life to notice those little changes that seem to come a little quicker with each passing day. Those little sacrifices you are asked to endure. While they happen, they tend to be painless, like a mosquito bite. But...they do pile up on you. What happens ten years down the road as these daily little sacrifices are counted? Fifteen?
That's where the SF part comes in. Wolfe and Zelman tackle what I consider the toughest nut in literary SF: the near term immersive novel. They pull it off spectacularly. This is no guided tour through a future. It's not a dystopia or a utopia. The authors do not fall to the temptation to take the easy way out. Instead, they give us a vivid, believable, but scarily different society that resembles today the way a gangly teenager resembles his baby pictures. I say this as an absolute and utter science fiction snob. Rebelfire is a wonderful first novel for any genre, but for the authors to tackle such a difficult type of SF novel on the first go and succeed so well is quite the feat.
The world they present is one we do not wish to believe, but it's constructed from things going on now. If anything, it's conservative in it's doomcrying.
And that's where you parents come in: this is an important book. Its themes are the same as almost every laudable young adult novel I can name: the power of believing in yourself and your dreams. The importance of bravery in the face of adversity. The supreme need for loyalty to and from those we love. There is no lack of adventure, but it's adventure of an oddly personal, realistic type. There are no shining heroes or last ditch rescues. The people and events of Rebelfire are conflicted and fallible; the events are quiet but no less momentous.
This is a book that you and your children need to read, and discuss. This is a book that may make your children pay a closer eye to current events, and ask clearer questions about social institutions like government and politics.
So. SF fans, pick up the book and be one of those people who can say 'Oh yeah. I remember that when it was just a small press book.' Our genre is being compressed and overwhelmed by franchise crap based on TV shows and movies. Major publishers seem less and less willing to take a chance on anything provocative, or deeply felt, or passionate. Remember that [i]we[/i] are the people who demand books like Rebelfire. If we don't support them when they appear, well...we'd better learn to enjoy STAR WARS novelizations.
And parents, buy this book. Read it first, then pass it to the kids. Be prepared for some hard questions. Some thoughts your child may have never encountered before. Some thoughts you may have never encountered before. This is a book from which many conversations will be born.
Because, I'm sad to say, in this book is the world your children will inherit, unless we start changing things in our own small ways now.
And it's not too late.
Set in the Brave new world of tomorrow, "RebelFire, Out of the Gray Zone" shows the out of control nanny State. In this place, and in the very near future, everyone is tracked everywhere by the State for their own good. Even your own mother can look you up everywhere! Dreams and ambitions are given compulsory "treatment". Spy cameras are everywhere and people are monitored tracked and told everything they can and can’t do. Privacy is a thing of the past and the eyes are everywhere.
Even more frightening is the technology for this new Orwellian world is here today and being put in place now. "RebelFire, Out of the Gray Zone" shows our legacy of complacency towards today’s nanny State. Jeremy is a kid trapped in this world of his parents and grandparents. He has dreams in this world where freedom is a meaningless word. His only escape lies in forbidden music from a band called RebelFire which he listens to covertly. It draws him out of the fog of existing day to day towards the flames of true freedom.
The book provides a unique experience with the music CD included. It allows the reader to further immerse into Jeremy’s world. "RebelFire, Out of the Gray Zone" is the first in the series and will appeal to teens and adult readers. Hopefully the readers can draw from this great story and apply the lessons to today’s world and ensure Jeremy’s world remains in the genre of great science fiction. Like all good books Rebel Fire tells an interesting and entertaining story and gets you thinking about the world of today and the Human condition of tomorrow. It was one of those books I could not put down and I anxiously await the next one in the series.
For the adults, I sincerely hope that they think about the world today and the pieces being put in place to make Jeremy’s world a fact. People on the political left and right will no doubt be very upset. It shows some of their control issues taken to the extreme in a full blown police state. It illustrates why individual freedom and choice are better. The world in RebelFire isn’t a huge leap away either. Everything from political corruption and cover-ups to full time monitoring and control are here today. It shows the results of the war on terrorism, drugs, obesity, (fill in the blank). What sounds like good policy "for the common good" today from our "representatives" leads to Jeremy’s world tomorrow. Totalitarian states are not new themes for humankind. Question is will the people reading today have the intestinal fortitude to put the brakes now or will they let their children or grandchildren do it. For the adults of today "RebelFire, Out of the Gray Zone" provides the looking glass into their grandkids' world.
For the young reader it shows why you need to question authority. Don’t buy everything the teachers and adults tell you. Some readers will be able to relate to Jeremy. Yes the world today is troublesome, but don’t buy into the "solutions" being offered. "RebelFire, Out of the Gray Zone" isn’t a boring adult book and most will find it entertaining and thought provoking.
Lead Software Engineer