Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Hold Back This Day - A Book Review

Recent I read Hold Back This Day by Ward Kendall, this sci-fi novel is set on Earth nearly a century after the Unification of Earth under the rule of World Gov. World Gov believes in Racial equality, or to be more correct in the elimination of all races and the creation of one race. All peoples have been divided up into Skin Tone Classes, Pale White is Skin Tone 1, Blueish Black (where skin is so dark it gives off a faint blueish tinge) is Skin Tone 10. The ideal skin tone is Skin Tone 5 and World Gov works to create an entire World of Skin Tone 5's.

The main character is Jeff Huxton, a Skin Tone 1 Australian, who grew up in Australia Zone 5, as a racial minority with most people being a mix of White and Black African "blend". His first wife and his son are also a Skin Tone 1, but by the time the story starts she has been killed in a race riot. His second wife is primarily Asian and their daughter is closer to the ideal skin tone.

Jeff is a Teacher and he has had a successful career all things considered. At the start of the novel he arrives with his family in Africa to begin a new job as a Skoolplex Administrator. A High School Principle, but with additional duties, there is also a "Harmony Project", that helps people of the wrong skin tone to breed with others of the opposite but equally wrong skin tone. Jeff approves of this, he is a loyal and devoted servant of World Gov and it's ideals of making a better world through eliminating racial differences.

He also knows that he is living through the last days of the White race and that World Gov has not always done things nicely. But through it all he still believes in the greater good that World Gov proclaims and some of it's claims stand up. It ended war by unifying Earth and many are like Jeff believing that they are creating a better world. One of the things I liked was how the problems of World Gov are introduced little by little, it is very subtle and well done.

The novel is about Jeff's political and racial awakening, he knows right from the start that World Gov has secrets. And it is how many, maybe most people operate, being able to believe things that are mutually exclusive. I felt this was also well done. Piece by piece Jeff moves from loyal to disloyal, from dedicated to rebel. I found his journey quite convincing.

Sadly I did not find everything convincing, some of the terms strike me as strange, Multiculturalism is used, even though it is not World Gov policy and it seems quite old fashioned and out of place in the setting. Nayra also seemed out of place, I wouldn't say what it is as it is important to the plot but it struck me as silly. I also had a problem with Jeff's love interest later on, it just didn't seem realistic, she seemed like a plant and I was surprised when she wasn't. However he also received a surprise ally at the same time which I thought was a stroke of genius and a very good political point as well.  

I also liked the ending, there is both a happy ending and a tragic ending and they both make sense, thats quite an achievement. Overall I liked this novel, it has it's faults but it also does what it sets out to do very nicely. It is well written and if your after a good read that makes you think then why not give Hold Back This Day a read.

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  1. What a horrible idea (I mean that our future may look like this)!

  2. Interesting, Mark, I had never heard of this book.