Decelerate Blue

"The future waits for no one" The tagline for Decelerate Blue really encompasses the concept of a futuristic world where speed is essential. Contractions are mandatory, as is using the word 'go' at the end of every statement. Literature has been distilled down to its most component parts (think Cliff's Notes on steroids), and slowing down is grounds for removal from society (this is, of course, left ambiguous). Angela finds something wrong with all this speed, and wants to slow down, but an oppressive society is continually forcing her to conform. She wants to slow down, to savor the printed word in books, to enjoy life instead of rushing through headlong into whatever new speed related fad comes along. Informed by a long outlawed book, and a visit to her elderly grandfather, Angela travels to the local park to recover a gift he had hidden for her. In the process, she meets a young man by the name of Loomis. With Loomis's help, Angela discovers a hidden world underground of people like her who want to slow down. They are actively training their bodies to slow down, to listen to the world, and to reconnect with time passing slowly. In this new world, Angela feels like she finally belongs, but invariably the outside world will come crashing down on this hidden utopia, and Angela may not survive. Rapp and Cavallaro have woven a timely update of Orwell's '1984' in Decelerate Blue. While Big Brother may not be as blatantly manipulative of Angela's world, he's still there in the presence of monitor chips and tracking devices. Life on the surface is frenetic and quick - the beginning of the book speeds right along, reflected in Cavallaro's minimalist artwork laying out the general outlines of society. Once Angela discovers the Underground, the artwork becomes more detailed, drawing your attention to the rich abundance of life. This shift is also reflected in the refusal of the characters to use contractions, to speak at length about feelings or concepts, and even to listen to music played slowly. While the ending is much more ambiguous than the ending of '1984', it does offer hope for this future, but it is left completely up to the reader as to what the future is. One interesting thing I found about this book is that the cover, spine and page edges are all blue, obviously a reference to the title, but it really makes the book stand out in a crowd, which is nice. Little touches like that always make it more memorable. As for parental notices, I have a feeling that some folks will be upset by the concept of teen rebellion, as well as depictions of same sex relationships, but I honestly felt that these are integral to the story (in regards to the former), and inoffensive character development (in regards to the latter). All in all, Decelerate Blue is a enjoyable story, and can work as a good springboard into Orwell's '1984'.

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