In the days when the corporations rule the world. The middle class is gone, and the cities are divided into upper and lower towns.
The upper towns are domed to protect the rich from the foul air that permeates the world, from the waste that fills the air, and fumes that blacken the sky from the smokestacks of the factories. The water is heavily rationed in the lower towns and barely drinkable, so fouled by the chemicals that fill the rivers and springs.
While in the upper town the water is purified even in the fountains and swimming pools that grace the world of the high and mighty. The shops, boutiques, restaurants, and museums are crowded in the upper town, music can be heard everywhere, and the flowers grow tall and beautiful.
While the people of the lower towns work six days a week, in sixteen to eighteen-hour shifts. There one day off is Sunday, it is then that the men and young boys must be found in the church, while the women and girls are kept at home, for they are considered to be beasts for breeding and less important than the animals that grace the zoos of the upper towns. Food is scarce in the lower town, and the only market is the company store.
The world has stepped back into the dark ages. Nearly all hope is gone to those not born into wealth and only the prophecy that one day a young woman will come who can control the magic of the between times keeps the poor going. It is said she will be able to pull on the energy of all those who are of like mind, wrap that energy together and send it into the world to remake it.
Marta Moran Bishop takes the reader through a possible future. Unlike Orwell’s, Animal Farm and 1984, or Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, The Between Times is not based on the government ‘Big Brother,’ but rather it is written using a recent ruling by the Supreme Court that says corporations are people. In The Between Times, we are shown the possibility of a world where the poor are considered to be a beast of burden, good only for the labor they can produce or the war they can fight, to enable the war profiteers to make more money.
Poor women are used for breeding and considered to be the property of men and the corporation. There is no way for the uneducated and isolated poor, move up the latter, for the middle class is gone.
In this short novel, The United States had taken a social, economic, and cultural step backward, to a time when our world consisted of lords and serfs. The only thing that keeps those who are not in the ruling class of the elite, going is the belief in a prophecy, that one day a girl will be born who will have the ability to unite all kindred spirits past, present, and future, to bring change to the world.
A truly amazingly imaginative book.
Life & Society as we know it can take a twisted terrible path
Marta Moran Bishop has penned a fascinating what-if dystopian sequence of two novels available as book one and two or as a boxed set. I was fortunate to get the boxed set from Audible.com and listen to together with my family in lockdown to Darkness Descends (the prequel) and The Between Times (the sequel). I ‘ll not rehash the details of the story as this is a review and not a report. The intensity and brutality of the people in power in these novels, the sheer level of cruelty has Bishop vying with serial killer novelists and TV shows like Criminal Minds and CSI. Bishop sets the stage well, uses props masterfully, and the story unfolds to the ear like a Broadway rendition of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 with a goodly dose of Brave New World. Still, while the dark side of the power brokers is genuinely executed and in places hard to stomach due to the attention to detail and the interplay of dialogue and character, there is the bright hope of Jewell herself, like a shining beacon on the lost hill. This is an American dystopia played out in Chicago, and the author’s obvious knowledge of the city struck me hard as I grew up in Chicago and have used the same city for many of my own writings. The novel here reminded me of just how long people have been declaring the men and women made the richest BY Chicago and Chicagoans have done badly in supporting the most vulnerable among us. In 1893 a visiting Englishman, a reporter who died on the Titanic, William Stead wrote of this crisis of Chicago in great detail in his book entitled If Christ Came to Chicago. And so, yes Bishops two titles in a boxed set on audible (ebook as well) moved me to deep thought about the crisis of Chicago in 1893 and today in 2020 with the pandemic that has hit the poorest and oldest among us the hardest, and yet we must always maintain hope and light.
Robert W. Walker, author of the Instinct Series