The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale

Fiction - Dystopia
441 Pages
Reviewed on 06/07/2022
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Author Biography

G Michael Smith is a poet, novelist, and children’s book author. He lives in Qualicum Beach, BC Canada. He has a BA in Psychology, English, and Creative Writing and a professional teaching degree from the University of British Columbia. He has a Master of Arts degree from San Diego State University. He has written four science fiction novels in The Forevers series all featuring a young female protagonist; a mid-grade novel titled “Hijacked - A Beechwood Adventure”; written and illustrated three children's books titled “The Accidental Adventures of Bernie the Banana Slug”, "Lily Liar and the Eleventy Headed Monster" and “Tiny Tina and the Terrible Trouble”. His poem - "Hummingbird" was recently published by Deep Overstock in their ‘Animals’ edition. A recent micro-story titled "Jimmy" has been accepted for publication by Coastal Shelf.
He has since completed "The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale". It is a story 3 years in the making. The many women in his world have brought and kept the plight of the female into sharp focus. He wondered what the world would be like if the tables were turned. How would men behave if they were subjugated? How would women handle the power they had fought so hard to obtain? The six characters that live in this topsy turvy world struggle with this new reality as it moves, albeit slowly, towards a society of equals.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite

Speculative science fiction meets a futuristic era when women rule the world in the new release by author G Michael Smith appropriately titled The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale. The prison is one of power in a struggle between the haves, who are almost exclusively women, and the have-nots, who are almost exclusively men. Smith provides a rapid introduction to readers about how the planet did a complete 180-shift and toppled the patriarchy, then transitions into the less hasty explanation of the individual accounts as and when it occurred, and in the protracted time following. The point of view is third-person past tense and sometimes omniscient. It is also abundant with over half-a-dozen point of view narratives complete with their own backstory and standing within this dystopian epic.

The Prison of Power is a big, fat, long novel but do not let that put you off. It's girth is deceptive when considering the pace as it barrels forward and its uncomplicated delivery. Substance over style isn't usually my preference but I'm grateful G Michael Smith was laser-focused on content over loquacious and flowery prose. There's a good story to be told here and he tells several of them in one fell swoop. I imagine the plot will be polarizing and cleanly split into the readers who like it and the rest who do not, which is fine. I am a man who just enjoys good escapism with interesting characters and The Prison of Power handed me this and more. Also between the covers is plenty between the sheets so escapism doubling as eroticism is there too. In this, consent is questionable in the same way it is when one group/gender is overpowered by the other; another layer to Smith's world to spark conversation. Recommended.

Joanne Ang

The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale, written by G Michael Smith, is a dystopian tale about women rising up to political power. The roles in history are reversed, where men’s access to education, career path, and rights to vote are extremely limited. Every single movement by men is calculated and controlled – a form of modern slavery. Unlike most men, Quinlan Smith has exceptional intelligence that is on a par with women in this day and age. Unfortunately, the fear of slavery has kept him quiet for years. Margaret Carver was taught that all men stand below women. The day she met Quinlan changed her view on men; perhaps not all of them are as bad as the world makes them out to be? Or is this just her teenage hormones raging?

The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale by G Michael Smith is an eye-opening view of a world filled with women in power. I really liked that the storyline started with events that happened in real time, giving a realistic outlook on the shift in power. I also enjoyed reading about Quinlan’s obedient and compliant personality as a result of the oppression against men. It sheds light on the unequal power and unjust circumstances that he constantly finds himself in. I also enjoyed Margaret’s shift from being overly against men to accepting that men are a vital part of our world. The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale gives more than just an insight into the importance of equality; it is a book riddled with drama, family feuds, gore, and a hint of romance. This is definitely a book that you can’t miss!

Jamie Michele

The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale by G Michael Smith is a dystopian novel set in the future where male dominance has not only ended but the roles they are now permitted to take have been dramatically suppressed. Females have ascended to near absolute control around the globe following waves of intense feminism that eventually evolved into feverish militancy. Smith narrates through multiple point of view characters, both male and female, who offer alternate frames of reference and a variety of perspectives across gender and a systemic hierarchy. These include, but are not limited to, Eve, a woman who was the victim of imprisonment and institutional rape and is committed to reprisals against all men without any sympathy; Karima, a female who is gender-reassigned as a 'Loverboy' to satiate women sexually by way of contract, but who has her eye on a role that could lead to a position of authority; and Quinlan, a male who has been unwittingly strung into a dragnet from which even his risk-averse former kidnap victim partner, a woman named Margaret, may not be able to save him.

The Prison of Power by G Michael Smith ticks several of the boxes that readers who enjoy suspense fiction centered around female-dominated societies will expect in a novel that strives for the same. We are shown the excuses employed by those in power for the new gender structure and the impact they have, which is dependent on the amount of benevolence or malice a female in power has. The most interesting to me was the female-female disparity in power between women like Karima and those who contract her, like the more influential Karen Chow, and the ways they find to use each other in that power structure to meet their own personal needs. Men have no agency and are therefore used for everything one would imagine with draconian punishments for the slightest faux pas. At one point a primary male character is told, should he cooperate, which isn't actually a request, he may receive a ‘dispensation from common penalties imposed on males’. This way he won't be punished if he accidentally bumps into a woman and sincerely apologizes immediately. Overall, this is a fun romp into an alternate society that is simply written and, therefore, very easy to consume over the course of a weekend.

K.C. Finn

The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale is a work of fiction in the dystopian, political thriller, and cultural issues subgenres. It is intended for the mature reading audience due to the presence of explicit language and scenes of a sexual nature and was penned by author G Michael Smith. In this role-reversal novel which explores gender politics and traditional binary roles, we discover an alternate universe in the near future where a cataclysmic series of events has led to women becoming the dominant gender of the human race. As men in different corners of the globe are subjugated and their rights are taken away, we get a glimpse of what life would be like if the history of the patriarchy had been reversed.

Author G Michael Smith presents an interesting and thought-provoking read which highlights many social issues and current global attitudes by flipping them on their heads and holding them up for our examination against a deadly background of governmental control. There must be balance in all things, and in seeing the reversal of such extreme roles, G Michael Smith shows us that any kind of imbalance is truly deadly for society, no matter who comes out on top. I also thought that the characters from both sides of the debate were well-realized and had some very relatable emotional moments that are as relevant to real life now as the circumstances of the book itself. Overall, The Prison of Power is certainly a worthy read for anyone looking for an original book they’ll be thinking about long after they’ve finished reading it.

Vincent Dublado

The Prison of Power: A Man-Made Tale by G. Michael Smith is a futuristic dystopian tale with gynocracy at its core. The tables have turned as gender politics tips its scale in favor of women. Men have been relegated to the second sex as women take the helm in socio-political and economic affairs. Women’s rise to power was brought about by a string of violent attacks against them that prompted a catalyst for a revolutionary change. In order for the gynocratic government to thrive, fempol was created—a societal force of women that uses male tactics against men. As male subjugation peaks, where men can no longer exercise suffrage or hold public office, there are still many who have been resisting by underground means, finding the right time to retaliate. Meanwhile, the woman-centered government faces dangers caused by elements that want to crush their system and casuistry.

The Prison of Power does make brilliant points when it comes to gender politics, especially in the scenario of how women would exercise control of the powers vested in them. The message is cleverly delivered, and the social commentary is generally smart. Of course, this is not likely to bridge the gap when it comes to philosophical perspectives on gender issues. But G. Michael Smith has delivered a satire that may well spark an interesting conversation among friends. The Prison of Power is a sharp novel that deserves to be read as it is different from other dystopian science fiction stories. Whether you agree with the story’s theme and message is up to you, but one thing is certain: It will captivate you and it will trigger you to exercise your critical faculties.