Tuesday 31 August 2021


Finished August 31
Reset by Sarina Dahlan

This dystopian novel imagines a world after a major war that has killed off most of the human population. A man who was in space when it happened and had already dabbled in planned communities decided to find the survivors and bring them together in a utopian community of four linked cities in the Mojave Desert. To prevent future building of alliances and resentments, he devised a system to reset everybody's memories every four years. Children are created in medical labs and raised to adulthood, gaining education and having their skills assessed. This technical learning, whether it is scientific, literature, or arts-related stays with them through any resets, but long-term relationships don't exist and neither do any prejudices developed during that four years. 
At each reset, people are assigned names, jobs and housing, provided with food, entertainment credits and an AI to assist them. Everyone is vegetarian. Life is generally good, with no one homeless or hungry. Some resources are limited, such as water, but these are distributed equitably. They all revere the man who created this community, known as the Planner but have been told very little about the Last War to prevent such feelings arising again. 
But some people have dreams of their past, remembering things that brought them strong emotions, mostly around love, and they desire to remember more, to connect with the people that they loved so strongly, and resist the "Tabula Rasa" reset. Thus there grows a resistance of sorts, secretly brewing a potion that brings these dreams to the surface, reviving such memories. 
The inspiration for this utopia is the John Lennon song Imagine, and it is an anthem of sorts for people. 
This story follows a few characters. Aris is a scientist, a woman who only engages in short term relationships, and embraces the ideas of the community. One of her short term lovers, Benja, has dreams of a man he loved before, and wants to remember more and regain that love. He is an artist and seeks out the group known as Dreamers that try to bring their dreams back into memories. This obsession will take him into dangerous territory and draw in the leader of the Dreamer group Metis, who is also searching for his past lover. 
This is an interesting story about the issues with an ideal world, the problem of control versus individuality, and the nature of love. 

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