Tuesday, May 15, 2018

All Rights Reserved (Word$, #1)All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This happens to be one of those books where the only thing I wanted out of it was the satisfaction of seeing a super BOLD idea slapped across the page. The BIG IDEA is admittedly fantastic.

I was even more interested in seeing if ANYONE could pull it off. It comes with a ton of issues, but if properly handled, even as a YA dystopia, it might have been brilliant.

I have no problems with a huge suspension of disbelief, but sometimes a big idea doesn't (and can't) ever jibe with reality. Sure, if the author put tech inside everyone's head that forced them to comply quite aside from the monetization of words, I may not have had too much of a problem... BUT. And here's the big but:

The world is ruled by lawyers, and beyond that, it's predicated on perpetual copyright taken to the full extreme. Very cool. Every word is monetized. You pay to use anything. Therefore, the only way to rebel is to stay silent. But even gestures are copyrighted and the totally observed police state is quite diligent and any neighbor can easily get a big paycheck by a helpful suite of lawsuits when it comes to pain and suffering. Good stuff. I love this kind of worldbuilding. I don't even have an issue with perpetual copyright laws handed down 6 generations of punishment for a stolen song.

It's good, perhaps great, satire.

However.

When it comes to the next step, when and if a populace decides to rebel, I had to ask a simple question. Why not make up our own words? When every word in existence is monetized and you need to start using them beginning on your 15th birthday, wouldn't YOU begin looking for a way around that? Keep the old language for making money with product placement. But make up your own words or language, or BETTER YET, any number of OTHER LANGUAGES?

Humans a wily that way. Just the idea of unintentional drift drives makers of dictionaries crazy. Some people can make tons of money keeping ideas stratified, but others would EASILY start making up whatever they want to get around the whole stuffy thing, too! That's just human nature! How many curse words do YOU know?

Exactly.

Well, I would have explored that issue instead of wringing my hands and crying and sticking by my weird silent guns on the hope that others would care. Or watch loved ones die. Or rely on the off switch.

Where are the pirates of the mind?

Other than this, it's a pretty decent YA SF dystopia. In one aspect, all the monetization and ads is pretty great worldbuilding. It's just the next step, the next dig down, that I have an issue with.

I usually don't go this hard on a book for ideas, especially since the rest was a pretty decent read as long as you suspend disbelief. Unfortunately, the disbelief became just a tad too heavy. ; ;

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