Book review of Division by Lee S Hawke

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Book Title: Division: A Collection of Science Fiction Fairy Tales
Author: Lee S. Hawke
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

I was gifted a copy of this book for an honest review

Featuring 7 original, fairytale-inspired science fiction short stories, this collection explores the division between mind, body, technology, and humanity in Hawke’s trademark haunting style.

Inside:

A chronically ill civilian discovers that his immune system may be the key to human survival

A schoolgirl tries to escape her demons through levels of virtual reality

A data analyst falls in love with a software coder during a forced government assignment

A young boy is confronted with a horrifying truth about his constructed world

A jaded medical technician rediscovers the meaning of beauty

A girl scrambles to escape a horrifying alien invasion in a futuristic dystopia.

And a spaceship engineer struggles with the death of her only daughter.

Metaphysical and visionary, this collection of fantastic fiction combines humor, wonder, horror and humanity to create an enduring anthology of fairy tales for adults.

~*~

I am a lover of fairy tales in all their forms, so this book appealed to me. Where most fairy tales will being with once upon a time, in a far away land, these ones did not explore that ancient and ambivalent land far, far away, that is in the old tales, a vague time and place, but rather, Lee. S Hawke’s fairy tales look towards the future of Earth and what it may be. The worlds of technology and humanity collide, and through this, we witness the characters trying to maintain their humanity through the integration of technology into life and how it can impact them, and change things. The fairy tales explore death, destruction and vanity – and of course, what it means to be human in a world of technology that can do anything people will it to. I think tale seven was my favourite, but each one of the seven, though fantastical and science fiction, dealt with significant themes that we deal with in today’s world. Just as we deal with illness, so do these characters, but with a twist in the first tale, the main character realising he could save humanity, or that in the second to last tale, science might be able to fix aging, to reverse it to the extent that people possible cease to exist. It explores the very real death of children and the breakdown and reconstruction of relationships that occur when a child dies through a couple on a spaceship over a thousand years from now. Technology and science have made an impact on the world. But people are still human, they still feel happiness and joy, pain and suffering, and they still mourn. They still get sick. Children still die. There are no happily ever after endings here, nor are the stories always completely resolved but that is the magic within. Happily ever after is a construct of Disney and of sanitising and rewriting the fairy tales so much that their true nature is no longer evident. If anything, these tales are more akin to Snow White’s mother dancing herself to death in red-hot iron shoes, and I love it. There is something real about the lack of closure and darkness, because in life, we don’t always get the happily ever after or closure. A great read, and one I would recommend if you enjoy dystopian stories.

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