Darkness to Light: A Utopia/Dystopia Novel

David H. Maring

Publisher: BookBaby Pages: 238 Price: (paperback) $17.95 ISBN: 9798350908534 Reviewed: August, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In the dystopian world David H. Maring creates in Darkness to Light, the United States has been replaced by the Nation of Paradise, and civil rights are completely abolished.

After a nuclear war, the old world has disintegrated, and this new world controls all its inhabitants. Women are now called “wo.” Men, or sperm donors, are vaporized in their early 20s after their contributions to the world have ended, and the wo, kept young through medical treatments, live until 50, when they journey to the Temple of Departure.

Just as life and death are highly regulated, so is sexual intimacy. Wos are only allowed self-pleasure through mechanical means. Intimacy with each other is punishable in labor camps, while sex with sperm donors is punishable by death. Religion is considered treason.

In this setting, Beth 20A, an ambitious archaeologist, is assigned to uncover the remains of the old world, including a cryogenics center destroyed by a nuclear warhead. Here, she discovers a man named John, who was preserved after being in a coma many years before. John is resurrected, and Beth becomes his guardian, assigned to write down his history of the world as he knew it.

The novel traces their escape from Paradise to an outside settlement called New Jerusalem, where Beth and John develop lives of their own free will, and where each find other romantic partners, as well as religion and a sense of purpose.

Readers will easily picture this dystopian world, which Maring fleshes out in detail. The story moves swiftly, with plenty of action and numerous characters. The latter results in some unnecessary distraction, however. Instead of solely focusing on the two main characters, the author occasionally shifts to others who aren’t as important, diluting the story. The novel would be stronger if told through one or two viewpoints, instead of many.

Still, Maring’s book is a riveting read, dark yet ultimately hopeful— one that fans of Orwellian fiction will embrace.

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Georgetown, South Carolina
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