Today it is my pleasure to kick off the Isolation by Denise R. Stephenson tour!
Publisher: Mill City Press (April 15, 2014)
Category: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Political Thriller, Medical Thriller
ISBN: 13: 978-1-62652-760-7
Tour Dates: June 15-July 30, 2014
Available in: Print and ebook, 383 Pages
Isolation depicts a bleak but recognizable future in which the fear of contagion reaches a fever pitch as a bacterial epidemic catapults the US into an apocalyptic crisis.
Touch is outlawed. Mothers like Maggie bind their infants’ hands, terrified they might slip fingers into mouths. Gary, a Sterilizer, uses robots to scour the infected, avoiding all contact with human flesh. Trevor, the Chief Enforcer, watches, eager to report any and all infractions.
One inadvertent touch will change all of their lives.
Praise for Isolation:
“I was fortunate enough to read a preview copy of Isolation and I have to say it is a timely and thought provoking, if not haunting, look into the future. I can’t imagine simple day-to-day tasks like getting food at the market being either impossible or dangerous. Written from a variety of perspectives and far-reaching communities, it kept the reader wondering, “Could this really happen to me? Could this be part of my world?” This book made me look into the foods I eat, the lifestyle I live and the value of my friends and family. To what extent would I go to keep those I love safe? Looking for answers kept me turning the pages.”– Michelle Keeton
“Denise Stephenson’s novel Isolation is situated in a not-too-distant future, one we can all imagine, in which bacterial diseases decimate human populations world-wide. Though other novelists and filmmakers have relied on viruses to frighten us with tales of pandemic diseases, Stephenson makes bacteria seem much, much more dangerous—in part, because the vast majority of bacteria we come in contact with are necessary for our survival. For one thing, we can’t digest food without the help of bacteria in our stomachs.
In Isolation, government agencies struggle with the question of how to isolate the dangerous bacteria from the life-saving sort. Eventually, hospitals are turned into Anti-Bacterial Centers, robots are used to cleanse individuals who are exposed, touching one’s face is banned, then touching others is banned, and finally everyone is quarantined inside their own homes in a final, desperate attempt to stop the spread of the lethal bacteria. It’s a frightening vision, but each step, each decision, makes perfect sense in light of the threat of contagion.
It’s a gripping tale, at once outrageous and yet plausible. Through news articles, a scientific report and a press release inserted throughout the novel, Stephenson reveals how woefully unprepared American society is for this sort of calamity.
In spite of the doomsday vision the book presents, it remains hopeful and optimistic by focusing on the lives of individuals. In the direst of circumstances, their humanity, their compassion, and their hope shines through.”– Bob Mayberry
“Isolation” paints a bleak picture. In order to keep humankind safe, the government imposes increasingly stricter bans on touching. From Do-not-touch one’s own nose and eyes to, in the end, the Total-Touch-Ban. People live in ever more isolation; at times, confined to their homes like prisoners.
While the prospect of living in, or even reading, about such a world may not sound appealing to everyone, Stephenson’s lovingly created characters, who accompany the reader from the present to a future two to three generations away, confirm that our species can adapt and survive.
Stephenson’s care to give each of her main characters a distinctive voice makes, in turn, the reader care about them; and that is what makes “Isolation” a pleasure to read.”– Irene Gerold
“Isolation gripped me. It’s a mesmerizing dystopia about the quiet and deadly menaces in our lives. These dangers may be hidden in the jargon of the latest government health report, lurking under the frilly curl of a romaine lettuce leaf, or triggered by a minor cut to a finger while using an ordinary kitchen knife. The characters in Isolation are people I know. It was easy to imagine myself as a sister, friend, or neighbor to any of them – or most of them.
I was in the story wondering, “What would I crave? What would I do for my family and my friends? Isolated, what could I do to fight back?” These questions linger.
The story is well paced, well written, and scary. Stephenson’s research is excellent. It provides a persuasive foundation for explaining why the home-bound isolation of the population becomes the awful solution for stopping the spread of disease. The story compelled me to mull my complacency about the safety of our food, drugs, and government promises to always protect our freedom.“- Karen Baum
Please join me in welcoming Denise Stephenson to Teddyrose Book Reviews:
Dystopia: The World Falling Apart by Denise Stephenson
Notice my title says the world, not a world. For me, dystopias work best when they are recognizably the world we live in now, altered to become the future that’s imaginable yet objectionable, frightening. It’s the world we don’t want to occupy.
There are always other options for our actual future and that is another reason for loving dystopias—they call us to look at the world we live in and to reconsider the ways we live, the values we hold, the choices and consequences of those choices.
I love dystopias and have read many of them, so it’s not surprising that my first novel, Isolation, is dystopic. In case dystopias aren’t your usual read, let me offer an example of how dystopia’s work. In Farenheit 451, a favorite since my childhood, the world of ideas has become so threatening to those in power that all books must be destroyed. The government spoon feeds the population its rhetoric as entertainment. People are dumbed down by the parlor walls (think big screen TV).
Written in 1953, televisions gaining in popularity, a cold medium luring the masses to sit around and watch in silence rather than discuss the world of ideas. After WWII, with the U.S. leaving Korea and moving into Vietnam, from the quietude of the suburban 50s toward the uprisings of the 60s, civil rights, women’s rights, a peace movement that wouldn’t be still. But let’s not talk about any of that.
In ’53 the horizon was filled with ominous changes which would be averted if every woman was the quintessential housewife watching soap operas and eating bonbons. Every man the worker who did his job without question, even if that job were to be a fireman, one who did not quell fires, but started them, by torching books. Both of these roles are fulfilled brilliantly in Farenheit 451 by Mildred and Guy Montag. She’s depressed; he begins to question the state of things, fearing he’ll be caught in possession of the book he irrationally saved from flames.
Dystopia, the world falling apart.
In 2009 as the swine flu threatened epidemics of Black Plague proportions, the CDC and World Health Organization spread the fear, changing behaviors overnight, getting people to sleeve the sneeze, and use hand sanitizers frequently. It was then I began to imagine the world of Isolation, a world in which the government, there’s always a powerful government backdrop in dystopias, banned citizens from touching their own faces, for human safety, of course.
From that premise, characters emerge, fighting one bacterial infection or another. Agri-Biz plays its role in creating anti-bacterial resistance through large livestock operations. Big Pharma keeps its hand in by developing anti-bacterial products one after another after another, lining their pockets while fleecing Homelanders.
The stories in Isolation are driven by an elusive safety which everyone seeks, but no one achieves. The world falls apart—in California, West Virginia, Alaska, Michigan, Hawaii. The world falls apart and the reader watches in horror, realizing how close this fiction is to hitting home.
Fast Forward—May 2014: E. Coli causes product recalls for hummus in Idaho and ground beef nationwide, as well as the need to boil water in Portland. Anti-biotic resistance is growing at a pace which threatens a near post-antibiotic future where bacteria will return to being a major cause of death, as was true pre-WWII.
The thinking person, the one who pays attention, reads a dystopia like Isolation realizing that this could be the future. The world could fall apart in just this way.
I love a good dystopia.
DENISE R. STEPHENSON resides in Oceanside, CA, but she has lived in all the isolated locales of this novel at one time or another. Her publishing history is primarily academic, though as a member of Attention Deficit Drama, she has written and produced monologs and short plays. This is her first novel.
There are two Giveaways:
Denise R. Stepnenson is giving away 5 print copies of Isolation during the tour. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on July 31, 2014. Please use Rafflecopter to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also, Thanks to Denise R. Stephenson, I am giving away one ebook of Isolation. This giveaway is open internationally and ends on July 31, 2014. Please use Rafflecopter to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway