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Reviewed by Carol Coetzee for Readers' Favorite
Celeste Chaney's In Absence of Fear takes readers into a safer future. Marus Winde is a senior algorithm architect working for the State on the Isle. He is married to Shey Vanguard and they have a son, Cade. The Isle is a sanctuary which has been created after a spate of bombings, murders, kidnappings and many other crimes. The State has ushered in the New Era, which brings with it implanted computer chips to monitor people and keep them safe. The chip is used as an Identification system, to monitor everything and allow people access to all they need to be healthy and safe. The program LifeWatch, has reduced crime immensely, and increased the heath and feeling of safety in the general public living on the Isle. Life is wonderful. ChildWatch is a specific program designed to monitor and keep children safe. These systems monitor the population 24 hours a day, and cameras and scanners along the streets, in the stores and in homes, allow people to know where their children are at all times.
In his position as senior algorithm architect, Marus is designing an updated version of the program know as I3. This is intended to monitor criminal tendencies, hormone releases, and generally to help prevent crime before it occurs. One ordinary day, Marus gets a call from his wife to say their son has been kidnapped. Marus Winde believes in the system he helped design, and is currently working on making it even better. When his son suddenly disappears and his wife leaves him, Marus must question everything he knows. What should have been impossible with his system has suddenly happened. These questions plague Marus as he sets about searching for answers. This one incident sparks off a string of interesting, unpredictable and strange events where Marus must question everything he believes in.
Celeste Chaney introduces us to her view of the future in her aptly named novel, In Absence of Fear. A world where every action can be monitored, protection is always available, your children are safe and there is nothing to fear. What a wonderful way to live, in peace, harmony and health. Imagine a world where your sleep patterns and cycles are monitored, as well as heart rhythms and illnesses. Your entire body is constantly checked and you are notified of any illness, deficiency or deficit, and then given advice and suggestions to improve your situation. As the story progresses, you are left wondering if you really want anyone, never mind the government, to monitor your every thought, feeling, illness, desire, or web search you do. Do you want every second of your life to be a series of recorded events? Do you want to be arrested because you're angry and think about retribution? Is this really the future we want? Scarily enough, this day is getting closer and closer to us. If you look at our current technology and the level of privacy we actually have, you will see how close we are. Are our lives really private, or is someone tracking your every move? A thought provoking novel that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.