Official Review: Ecotopian World by Zachia Middlechild

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fantasy or science fiction books or series.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Official Review: Ecotopian World by Zachia Middlechild

Post by NetMassimo »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Ecotopian World" by Zachia Middlechild.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Ecotopian World by Zachia Middlechild is set in 2065, after the USA broke up because the Western states seceded. Those states founded Ecotopia, a nation based on environmental awareness and the use of magic. What remains of the old USA got increasingly polluted, and the situation got much worse in 2045, after an incident at a nuclear power plant caused a radioactive leak that spread throughout the nation. The drop in the population's fertility convinced the Congress to vote a law that forced all girls' fertility to be checked when they're 13. All fertile girls have to become breeders, forced to give birth to 20 children, 2 from a husband they can select and the others from men selected by the authorities. An alternative is to steal the fertility vaccine they believe the Ecotopians have, but within the government someone decides to abduct fertile young people.

Zachia Middlechild has been an artist for all her life, but generally she works as a painter and a sculptor. This is her first novel, openly inspired to Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach, a novel with a strong environmental theme. The premises are the same, with the Western states that secede from the USA to build an ecological utopia. In Ecotopian World there's a fantasy flavor because magic is widely used in Ecotopia. The rediscovery of magic abilities went alongside the healing of their land. That included their reconnection with Leer, magic animals that can bond with humans. With magic came a rediscovered spirituality strongly connected to the land. Religious fundamentalism and bigotry are considered enemies of that type of spirituality, and among the causes of humanity's dark times.

There's a remarkable contrast between living in Ecotopia or in the USA. In Ecotopia, people are well because they live in a healthy environment where they can eat good food. In the USA, the environment is polluted, so people tend to be sick, with a fertility problem that's threatening the country's future. The response is very different as well: the Ecotopians decide to invite children from the USA to Summer Camps while many among the American authorities think that the Ecotopians have a vaccine against infertility and want to steal it.

Zachia Middlechild uses that contrast to build a story focused in particular on Christina Braggio and her brother George, two of the kids invited to one of Ecotopia's Summer Camps. Christina has just been registered as a breeder in the USA, and she's worried about her future. The story of these two kids is in my opinion one of the strongest parts of the novel because it offers a positive message. For Christina and George, spending time in a healthy environment enables them to develop abilities that were dormant in their polluted country. The greater awareness existing in Ecotopia also means that people work together to maintain their environment. In a period where dystopic stories that can have really dark tones seem predominant, I found this story refreshing with its message of hope for the future. This effect is even greater because it's built on the contrast with a country that fell into a dystopia.

My complaint about Ecotopian World is that sometimes the author omits information I found important. For example, even within the USA's government, there's only a minority of bad people, yet nothing gets done to improve their terrible environmental situation. Why is that? No answer is offered. I give the author the benefit of the doubt because she already announced a sequel.

The novel would also benefit from another round of editing, as there are several grammar and formatting errors. Most of them are not a distraction, and in some cases I noticed them only because I was paying attention. It contains no profanities and no sex, which makes it suitable for kids as well. However, someone might be disturbed by some bits about egg harvesting from girls. It's not specifically targeted to teenagers and young adults, but for its contents and the importance of young characters I found it very well suited for them.

In my opinion, Ecotopian World is a good novel with some little flaws, so a rating of 3 out of 4 stars seems fair to me. The main storyline has an ending, but a few subplots will be developed in the sequel. I recommend this novel to people who want to read a story of hope for our future.

******
Ecotopian World
View: on Bookshelves
Ciao :)
Massimo

User avatar
Faithmwangi
Posts: 443
Joined: 03 Aug 2017, 13:40
2019 Reading Goal: 30
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 66
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 40
Currently Reading: Empowered
Bookshelf Size: 62
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-faithmwangi.html
Latest Review: The Employee Millionaire - Personal Workbook by H. J. Chammas

Post by Faithmwangi »

I don't this book is for me. Particularly because of the egg harvesting bit. However, I do appreciate the author's take on the environment and the positive spin identified in the novel.
"Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

Faithmwangi wrote:
18 Mar 2020, 23:03
I don't this book is for me. Particularly because of the egg harvesting bit. However, I do appreciate the author's take on the environment and the positive spin identified in the novel.
The author didn't go into the details of that harvest, and that's a small part of the novel that aims to describe some evil activities, but I understand that it can be disturbing.
Ciao :)
Massimo

User avatar
sanjus
Posts: 1397
Joined: 08 May 2018, 12:47
2019 Reading Goal: 21
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 100
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: Charles' Story
Bookshelf Size: 363
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sanjus.html
Latest Review: A Golfing Genius by John Atkinson
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by sanjus »

The western states breaking away from the rest of the states to form a new nation called Ecotopia, which is a nation based on environmental awareness and the use of magic. The premise appears to be quite interesting. Thanks for your great review.
life is only knowing the unknown, we can do this by reading books easily- I believe this is my own quote. If someone quoted this before I am glad to know.

User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

sanjus wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 05:57
The western states breaking away from the rest of the states to form a new nation called Ecotopia, which is a nation based on environmental awareness and the use of magic. The premise appears to be quite interesting. Thanks for your great review.
I think the author made a good use of that premise. Thank you for your appreciation!
Ciao :)
Massimo

User avatar
SunVixen
Posts: 363
Joined: 23 Jan 2019, 05:44
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 76
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sunvixen.html
Latest Review: Conflict on the Yangtze by Greg Kater

Post by SunVixen »

"The drop in the population's fertility convinced the Congress to vote a law that forced all girls' fertility to be checked when they're 13. All fertile girls have to become breeders, forced to give birth to 20 children, 2 from a husband they can select and the others from men selected by the authorities."

This seems like unnecessary cruelty. Poor breeders must give birth to so many children. So many births can undermine their health. Also, they will not be able to have any further education or job due to endless childbirth and care for little babies.

Why don't these breeders just donate their eggs? For example, you can take an egg from a breeder, artificially fertilize it and transplant it to some woman who really wants to have a baby.

Nevertheless, thanks for the wonderful review.

User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

SunVixen wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 08:03
"The drop in the population's fertility convinced the Congress to vote a law that forced all girls' fertility to be checked when they're 13. All fertile girls have to become breeders, forced to give birth to 20 children, 2 from a husband they can select and the others from men selected by the authorities."

This seems like unnecessary cruelty. Poor breeders must give birth to so many children. So many births can undermine their health. Also, they will not be able to have any further education or job due to endless childbirth and care for little babies.

Why don't these breeders just donate their eggs? For example, you can take an egg from a breeder, artificially fertilize it and transplant it to some woman who really wants to have a baby.

Nevertheless, thanks for the wonderful review.
There are no specific explanations, and the novel is set years after that law was imposed, so there are no debates about the options. However, egg harvesting is a possibility included in the novel that's not the first choice, possibly because IVF might still be a complex procedure, also frowned upon by conservatives. Yes, approving breeding programs while condeming IVF is totally hypocritical, but hypocrisy is abundant in what remains of the USA.

Thank you for your appreciation.
Ciao :)
Massimo

User avatar
SunVixen
Posts: 363
Joined: 23 Jan 2019, 05:44
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 76
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sunvixen.html
Latest Review: Conflict on the Yangtze by Greg Kater

Post by SunVixen »

NetMassimo wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 09:18
SunVixen wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 08:03
"The drop in the population's fertility convinced the Congress to vote a law that forced all girls' fertility to be checked when they're 13. All fertile girls have to become breeders, forced to give birth to 20 children, 2 from a husband they can select and the others from men selected by the authorities."

This seems like unnecessary cruelty. Poor breeders must give birth to so many children. So many births can undermine their health. Also, they will not be able to have any further education or job due to endless childbirth and care for little babies.

Why don't these breeders just donate their eggs? For example, you can take an egg from a breeder, artificially fertilize it and transplant it to some woman who really wants to have a baby.

Nevertheless, thanks for the wonderful review.
There are no specific explanations, and the novel is set years after that law was imposed, so there are no debates about the options. However, egg harvesting is a possibility included in the novel that's not the first choice, possibly because IVF might still be a complex procedure, also frowned upon by conservatives. Yes, approving breeding programs while condeming IVF is totally hypocritical, but hypocrisy is abundant in what remains of the USA.

Thank you for your appreciation.
I have not read this book yet, so I do not know about hypocrisy and other things. Thanks for the explanation.

I just read your review and was surprised. Why ruin the lives of some females and leave others without children?

User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

SunVixen wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 09:36
NetMassimo wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 09:18
There are no specific explanations, and the novel is set years after that law was imposed, so there are no debates about the options. However, egg harvesting is a possibility included in the novel that's not the first choice, possibly because IVF might still be a complex procedure, also frowned upon by conservatives. Yes, approving breeding programs while condeming IVF is totally hypocritical, but hypocrisy is abundant in what remains of the USA.

Thank you for your appreciation.
I have not read this book yet, so I do not know about hypocrisy and other things. Thanks for the explanation.

I just read your review and was surprised. Why ruin the lives of some females and leave others without children?
The point is that most of the breeders' children get adopted by other people after being delivered by their biological mothers.
Ciao :)
Massimo

User avatar
SunVixen
Posts: 363
Joined: 23 Jan 2019, 05:44
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 76
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sunvixen.html
Latest Review: Conflict on the Yangtze by Greg Kater

Post by SunVixen »

This weird system seems less stupid now. However, hardly anyone wanted to be a breeder.

User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

SunVixen wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 09:50
This weird system seems less stupid now. However, hardly anyone wanted to be a breeder.
The perspective of being a breeder is a theme developed in the novel.
Ciao :)
Massimo

User avatar
Firefawkes
Posts: 447
Joined: 27 Dec 2018, 11:17
2019 Reading Goal: 60
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 40
Currently Reading: Way of Kings
Bookshelf Size: 34
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-firefawkes.html
Latest Review: Trials and Tribulations by Jess Thomas

Post by Firefawkes »

The idea of having "breeders" seems very similar to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which is a scary thought. I'm wondering if there is a clear cut line between the good society and the bad one, or if both systems have their pros and cons? If one is obviously better, why hasn't the US adopted different practices after seeing how well its working for the other? So many questions... I think I'm going to have to read this one! Thanks :)

User avatar
Nerea
Posts: 1490
Joined: 11 May 2018, 05:13
2019 Reading Goal: 15
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 166
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 80
Currently Reading: Redemption, Spirits of the Belleview Biltmore
Bookshelf Size: 369
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-nerea.html
Latest Review: The Billionaires’ Handbook by Andrew Stevenson

Post by Nerea »

Sounds like an intriguing and thrilling time travel story. I'm amused by the reproductive arrangement highlighted in the story. I think I need to delve deep into the story to draw more gems. Additionally, I'm glad to know that the material is free from profanity and other graphic references. Thanks for the lovely review.
"Regular reading improves your grammar."

User avatar
unamilagra
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1155
Joined: 07 Feb 2019, 22:57
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 245
Currently Reading: The Explosive Child
Bookshelf Size: 69
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-unamilagra.html
Latest Review: Ferret by L.K. Samuels
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by unamilagra »

This reminds me of Handmaid's Tale with the forced breeding, hopefully without the forced "natural conception" that goes along with it. I like dystopian books and always think it's interesting to see what different authors think the future could hold for us. It sounds like with a bit of polishing, this could be a great book. Thanks for a thorough review!
Latest Review: Ferret by L.K. Samuels

User avatar
NetMassimo
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 933
Joined: 24 Jul 2019, 06:37
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 162
Currently Reading: Aristoi
Bookshelf Size: 123
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-netmassimo.html
Latest Review: Purple Hearted Man by Jack W. McDaniel

Post by NetMassimo »

Firefawkes wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 12:43
The idea of having "breeders" seems very similar to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which is a scary thought. I'm wondering if there is a clear cut line between the good society and the bad one, or if both systems have their pros and cons? If one is obviously better, why hasn't the US adopted different practices after seeing how well its working for the other? So many questions... I think I'm going to have to read this one! Thanks :)
In the novel, contacts between what remains of the USA and Ecotopia remained very limited for many years, which is also why within the USA government many people think that Ecotopians have a vaccine against infertility.
Ciao :)
Massimo

Post Reply

Return to “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books”