Contraception

Our World, Reimagined

Fiction - Dystopia
307 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Degen has lived in Beijing, China since 2013, working as a writer, editor, and travel enthusiast. He holds an MA degree in Chinese Politics & Foreign Policy from Tsinghua University. He enjoys working out, eating street food, and thinking about unconventional solutions to global problems. He’s also a big fan of dystopian novels & film. His first published novel was Contraception.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

"Humans had attempted to create a mechanism to expedite natural selection, but few believed Darwin would have been proud." Contraception: Our World, Reimagined by Degen Hill is a dystopian suspense thriller with a story that orbits the year 2070, when the world has become so overpopulated that the application to have a single child meant signing a death warrant for three others who were also trying, and the signatory is also the executioner. Li and his wife, Mei, have decided to take the risk, but when it turns out there's an ulterior motive to the trade, and Li is being used under the facade of Contra to carry out the sanctioned killings on behalf of....who?...he's forced to find an answer before his own name ends up on the next glass tablet.

Degen Hill has just made my list of favorite authors. Contraception is so intelligent, so fast paced, and so consuming that I was initially shocked that I'd never come across the author or the title before. Imagine my further surprise when I found out this is a debut novel by a debut novelist. The futuristic and sci-fi elements blend seamlessly with a quickening plot and wholly authentic dialogue. There is also an assassin named Victor, whom a reader will struggle to despise even though he does despicable things. In truth, everyone else has their own list of dirty deeds to contend with - including Li and Mei - but Hill has developed his characters so deftly that they are all, even Victor, thickly layered and intriguing. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a read with a unique and believable dystopian twist, top-notch action and suspense sequences, and the first run from an author whom you'll undoubtedly hear more from down the road. This is the best book I've read so far this year.

Christian Sia

Contraception: Our World, Reimagined by Degen Hill is a dystopian novel with realistic themes. It begins in the future in 2060 and covers the period beyond 2070 with the world suffering from overpopulation. The need for population control is so urgent that a unanimous decision is taken to bring about a new contraception policy —something unique and effective. According to this new contraception policy, any couple wanting to have a baby must first kill three random people. Associate professor of ethics at Peking University in Beijing, Li Hu and his wife, Mei, submit their names to the contraception database and are expected to kill three other applicants. Li discovers that the third person is someone he knows and that the person’s name is not even supposed to be in the database. So begins a hunt for the truth and Li has to travel across continents to uncover it, for Li’s country could be using the contraception policy for their own political reasons. Follow Li and his wife on a dangerous quest and against powers that are ruthless.

This is a realistic novel that takes a serious look at one of the problems of our earth. In a very somber tone, the narrator says that “The world was overpopulated, but somehow still refused to admit that it was ill equipped to deal with mankind’s greatest problem — man himself.” Degen Hill has used the question of overpopulation to spin a story that engages readers, forces them to think about the fate of the planet, while entertaining them with a perilous journey of a couple in search of answers. The narrative is very well done and the international setting comes out vividly throughout with cultural elements that readers will be interested in learning. Contraception: Our World, Reimagined has strong characters and a beautifully created plot.

Ruffina Oserio

Degen Hill’s Contraception: Our World, Reimagined is a compelling story set against the backdrop of a futuristic world. Overpopulation has become a threatening problem and the world will suffer staggering consequences if it is left unchecked. Now a new policy stipulates that for any couple to get a baby, they will have to kill three random people from the contraception database. So, when associate professor of ethics in Beijing, Li Hu, and his wife, Mei, decide to have a child, they have to follow the universal rule of killing three random people. The only problem is that the third person to kill is someone that Li knows well and someone who never entered their name in the contraception database. Now, who put their name in it or is someone manipulating the system? Li needs answers and his search takes him across different countries and continents, and the more he seeks for the truth, the more he exposes himself to danger.

I loved the idea behind this novel and it is something that seems to be very plausible. I have heard rumors about the Chinese population control policy, and I think that the question of overpopulation will eventually become a serious one if humankind continues at today’s growth rate. Degen Hill’s story is well plotted and the characters are fully fleshed out. While Contraception: Our World, Reimagined can be entertaining, it is a prophetic novel that is brilliantly constructed and executed with great skill. The author draws the attention of readers to a serious threat to the world, one that few take the time to think about. Readers will enjoy the writing, the clear narrative voice, the intensity of the action, and the well-handled settings.