The Resistance PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 July 2009 14:25

Gemma Malley

 The book focuses on what happens to Anna and Peter after they become 'legal' , trying to make a life together bringing up Anna's baby brother, Ben in a society where it is illegal to have children because everyone is taking longevity drugs to defer death indefinitely. Even though Peter and Anna are now classified as legal they are frowned upon by most of society as freaks and a generation to be feared (youth is a rare commodity in 2140 where most people are well over 100 years old). Babies, rather than being welcomed to the world, are seen as a drain on increasingly scarce resources which are now tightly rationed; redolent perhaps of the way that many people view immigrants in present times. The dehumanisation of youth in the treatment of the 'surpluses' serves as a wider metaphor for what happens when we allow people to be treated as  'other' and look for ways to rationalise our hatred. The plot revolves around the development of the next generation of longevity drugs to replace the current version which, although prolonging life indefinitely, are not perfect as they do not repair external signs of ageing such as wrinkles and grey hair. Consequently Pincent Pharma, along with the malevolent 'Authorities' , are seeking the next pharmaceutical breakthrough using stem cells to create more powerful drugs that will maintain a youthful outer appearance for eternity. Peter is the grandson of the MD of Pincent Pharma and infiltrates his grandfather's company to try to help the Resistance who want to destroy longevity, but then finds his resolve wavering after discovering that both he and Anna are infertile. However, the shocking secrets he uncovers at Pincent Pharma change everything for Peter and Anna. The plot moves quickly but Peter's character, with all his adolescent angst and rage, is still well developed and convincing.

 This is the sequel to The Declaration, Gemma Malley's first book (also reviewed on this site) and it doesn't disappoint. It is clearly intended for those who have read the first book so, whilst you probably could enjoy it in its own right, it makes far more sense as a sequel. The author raises some good questions about the purpose of medicine, the ethics of stem cell research and very current issues of what we as a society would hope to achieve from such drugs. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this book for a teenager but would caution on two counts. The first is that there are some quite graphic and horrifying accounts of what goes on at Pincent Pharma, it would be a spoiler to reveal the nature of this but could be disturbing to younger readers (and possibly to some more squeamish adults). The second is that, whilst it is entirely appropriate in the context of the plot, I do have some anxiety about a book for a teenage audience (girls in particular) that portrays childbirth as the ultimate act of heroic rebellion and the only way to find true meaning in a flawed world. This, coupled with the deeply unsympathetic portrayals of career women, could give out a slightly strange message to young women at a time when you would want them to be focusing on their own studies and future careers before thinking about motherhood. However, overall it is testament to this writerâ s imagination that I consider the book could be so influential, and would hope that most young people reading this would be able to make the distinction between the present day and this nightmare vision of the future. This is a more action packed adventure than The Declaration and is more likely to appeal for boys as well as girls. It would also make an excellent film or TV drama.



Guest Reviewer

Charlotte Reevely

Programme Director

National School of Government

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 July 2009 11:07 )
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