This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite
“Voluntary” by Aaron Powell is a short, powerful vignette of one possible near-future dystopia. Earth has been polluted, abused, over-populated, and just generally degraded beyond the point at which it can sustain the life it is expected to support. In a desperate attempt to stem the tide of decline, nations around the world have come up with various means of reducing their population; means which would have been unthinkable a generation earlier. In China, all the prisoners were executed. There was talk of holding a lottery, whereby the poorer Chinese citizenry would choose who could live and who should die. In America, death theaters have been established, wherein anybody can “volunteer” to commit a peaceful, painless suicide while watching a movie, in exchange for government promises of some kind of special consideration for the survivors of those who die. Some are promised a higher education for their children, or perhaps a special job/career in exchange for the parent voluntarily removing himself from the population.
This short story is extremely compelling. Although such a course of action seems absurdly unthinkable now, the reader must nevertheless consider the possibility that some day – perhaps someday in the not too distant future – Earth’s overall condition may be degraded to the point that this may well be considered as a viable option. What makes this story feel so real is the emotion expressed by the two main characters who have volunteered. Their comments and thoughts are as realistic as any you or I might have. They shake their heads in wonder at how the world ever got to be in this position. They realize mistakes have been made, but find it hard to comprehend how the mistakes could have cumulatively led to this. “Voluntary” is a hard-hitting, emotion-filled drama that will bring a tear to your heart, if not to your eyes. I give this my highest recommendation.