4 out of 4 stars
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The year is 2084. The worldwide society, now known as the Best Society, is broken into two classes, the “Thelites” (elites) and the “Proles” (proletariats). Thelites are considered the most intelligent people on Earth; their beliefs are based exclusively on science. Their goals are to create the perfect society, and they can’t comprehend why some Proles object. Each Thelite’s day is regimented, and every aspect is monitored by implants in their brains known as BioGrams, which gives the Thelite instant access to information. The Proles, supposedly not as intelligent, are considered second-class citizens. Some of them continue to believe in religion, spiritualism, and the ability to communicate through dreams. These are frowned upon by the Thelites because they can’t be proven by science. Proles’ lives are more disordered, but most just want to be left alone to make their own decisions. Thelites have been conscripting land and businesses over the years, massacring Proles who oppose them in the guise of doing it for the common good.
Julianna-119 was a Thelite, or so she thought. Her father went in for his physical on his 55th birthday, and she was told he died due to a complication from a procedure he was given. After meeting a Prole named David that she found out was her uncle, she was informed that her father had originally been a Prole. He had been invited to become a Thelite because of his exceptional mental acuity and his belief in science. David notified her that her father, just before his death, had communicated with him through his dreams and begged him to warn Julianna of possible danger. Although skeptical at first, Julianna begins learning things that most Thelites don’t realize and discovers that things are not as they should be.
Proles: A Novel About 2084 by Joel E. Lorentzen is a 355-page intriguing story that will definitely be thought provoking for most people. Although this book has similarities to George Orwell’s 1984 novel, the author has given the story his own spin. It is written from the third-person point of view. It alternates between things taking place in 2084 and events that preceded that from 2060 up to 2084. Each chapter has a heading and the pertinent year, making it easy to follow. Most of the 2084 chapters are from Julianna’s perspective, whereas the other chapters are from other Proles’ viewpoints. The author’s prose is well organized and easy to understand. The story begins with Julianna’s father’s death and moves quickly to Thelites conscripting new land for a “Hub,” including killing some of the people who are objecting. It moves along at a good pace and kept me mesmerized throughout.
The author makes it simple to picture what the future in the book looks like with vivid descriptions and well-crafted dialogue. This is a world where there are stark differences between the two classes. In spite of the Thelites’ desires to make the Proles’ lives better, there will never be a merging of the two classes. The penalty for a Prole entering the Thelite’s area uninvited is imprisonment and death. Unfortunately, this book reminds us of the widening of the chasm between the rich and the poor and the increasing prejudice in the United States towards those perceived as different. The recent falsehoods spread by a political party and reinforced by the media have caused even further division. We are also reminded that it is far too easy to receive skewed information and believe what we are told by the party we belong to, much like the people in our novel.
This book was well edited as I only found three minor errors. Because I encountered nothing to dislike and was captivated by the story, Proles: A Novel About 2084 achieves a rating of four out of four stars. I think it would be appreciated by those who like thought-provoking, well-written novels with some elements of suspense. Sensitive readers should be aware there are profanities and a rather explicit sex scene in the book.
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