Published by Two Dollar Radio on March 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Fiction, Literary, Science Fiction
Inez wanders a post-pandemic world, strangely immune to disease, making her living by volunteering as a test subject. She is hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken, affluent mother, who lost all four of her daughters within four short weeks. This experimental genetic work is policed by a hazy network of governmental ethics committees, and threatened by the Knights of Life, religious zealots who raze the rural farms where much of this experimentation is done.When the mother backs out at the last minute, Inez is left responsible for the product, which in this case is a baby girl, Ani. Inez must protect Ani, who is a scientific breakthrough, keeping her alive, dodging authorities and religious fanatics, and trying to provide Ani with the childhood that Inez never had, which means a stable home and an education.
The Only Ones for Carrolla Dibbells’ first novel is actually quite good. I want you to think of a cross of The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night meets clones and dystopia.
Inez’s first person prose reminds me very much of what I have come to expect from authors attempting to recreate voices from the autism spectrum. The way that The Only Ones is unique is that it takes that sub-genre of mental health literature and catapults it into a near future scenario where pandemic flus and diseases are common and ‘dome’ communities are typical.
Quite frankly, I found The Only Ones is an interesting commentary on parenting, the way Inez refers to herself as ‘I.’ feels highly symbolic (maybe as parents we’re all struggling to do the best we can and should stop judging the way each one of us does it?)
On motherhood and other mothers:
So that’s it. They just wanted to watch what I do and tell me what is wrong with it.
C’mon, who among us with kids hasn’t felt that way in the presence of ‘superior’ moms?
The Only Ones is very different from your standard dystopian/epidemic/apocalypse novel. It’s about a society that is functioning, if barely and the grit, determination, and sacrifices that it takes for one poverty stricken woman to subsist in it, with a child no less.
Science minded readers might also be interested… or infuriated. I don’t know enough about genetics or cloning to know how viable (ha! get it?) the science behind it is.
Surprisingly, I found that I really enjoyed this book, Readers. There were points where it lulled just a bit but for the most part it is extremely readable. Has anyone else read it? Anyone else interested?