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The Silent History

por Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby, Kevin Moffett

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15313176,399 (3.75)8
"An innovative literary thriller about a generation of children born unable to create or comprehend language"--
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Mostrando 1-5 de 13 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
This book has 3 different authors and several character narrators. It read like a mixture of The Stand and World War Z with a smattering of Geek Love thrown in for good measure.

The collective narrative is set a couple of decades into the future and concerns the events that follow a spate of births of children born without language. The narrative takes the form of recordings for an oral history project.

It did flag in places. I guess it did for the authors too since around these points the storyline got quite bizzare. The wallaby farm - I quite enjoyed that storyline. Anyway I pressed on to the end to find out what happened so I guess it held me. ( )
  nick4998 | Oct 31, 2020 |
It makes sense to compare this book to [b:World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War|8908|World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War|Max Brooks|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386328204s/8908.jpg|817]; they are similar, in that they both use testimonials to slowly paint a picture of an event.

I just loved the concept of The Silent History - all of a sudden children are being born without the ability to comprehend or create speech. I do love a good psychological sci-fi that posits a situation and then just goes with it. It was fascinating how different characters interpreted being Silent in such different ways (as a disease or disability, as just a new variation, as a message, as a return to "real humanity", etc.).

The Silent community has many strong parallels with the Deaf community, especially when it comes to the fight between seeing it as a disorder and trying to fix it with medical technology, and not seeing it as a personal problem but as one with a society that tries to "fix" everyone to make us all the same instead of changing the environment around us to allow everyone to participate equally. It was interesting to read about the range of parental reactions to having Silent children, where some would immediately embrace it and attempt to learn the "face talking" language that Silents use with each other, some would hold hope that their child would be able to learn language someday and would spend all their money and time on speech therapy, some would encourage their children to make other Silent friends while others would prevent their children from seeing any other Silents, some immediately jumped on a new medical "cure" while others were horrified that they should be expected to change their children at all...etc.

I didn't love all the characters, but I didn't really hate any of them either. I liked seeing the same event from different perspectives, it helped to empathize with each person. Everyone is trying to deal with this sudden and confusing situation as best they can, and we all have different coping mechanisms.

So, I really liked this book. And it's cool that it's an app too, but I don't think I really missed out on anything by not owning any apple products. If you want, you can just read a chapter a day and you'll have the same experience, pretty much.
( )
1 vote katebrarian | Jul 28, 2020 |
This highly original novel takes the form of a series of transcriptions from apparently taped interviews/statements from a large cast of characters describing the phenomenon of 'silents', children born apparently in every way normal, except without the ability to use language in any form. This leads to a fascinating and indeed difficult meditation on the nature of language in particular and communication in general. The many characterisations are well done, although I think the pacing suffers from the documentation of quite so many details of the children's development over time. ( )
  jtck121166 | Jun 9, 2020 |
I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I read it as a book, not as it was originally published in app form (because screw you if you didn't have an iPhone two years ago), so I'm not sure how that impacts my reading (in long chunks) vs. the intended ten to fifteen minute blocks.

There's just a huge variance in tone--there's little background details of advances in culture and society that are extremely well-thought out, nutrients loafs and music services and discounted car rentals for being implanted with a chip that makes you incredibly thirsty whenever you see a certain brand of drink. But there's also shitty pseudo-science and a dude who gets into hand-to-hand combat with a hoard of wallabies that he had previously been raising for meat. He is unable to defeat the final wallaby, and so they bond and travel across the country together. And this is a keystone character. If anyone's the protagonist, it's the wallaby guy.

But the authors also do fun things with the characters, giving you first-person perspectives from multiple people, often on each other. You listen to one person wax poetic about the nobility of his mission, and then someone else chimes in that he's really in it for the attention. (Though this is somewhat problematic, as there's a theme of secret-shameful-homosexuality involved. But then there's also group orgies.)They explore that it means to be human, what it is to communicate, if it is human to speak or if speech is just an imprecise funnel for concepts and depths of emotion that are eventually stifled, left to wilt, unnamed and unexplored. If the silents are less than human because they cannot speak, or more, because they do not need to. (All while being tragicomically aware of how hippy-dippy that sounds.)

Maybe this worked better doled out in pieces, slowly, inviting the reader to savor it. Maybe I would like it more if I re-read it. It just felt very unwieldy, sprouting legs in weird places and shambling around. ( )
  prufrockcoat | Dec 3, 2019 |
Fantastic idea told in intriguing episodic fashion. This book bogs down a bit in the middle (some defter editing was in order) but is still worth the read for those interested in speculative fiction about disability and/or language. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Apr 17, 2019 |
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Eli Horowitzautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Derby, Matthewautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Moffett, Kevinautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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"An innovative literary thriller about a generation of children born unable to create or comprehend language"--

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