The Crimson Meniscus #BookReview

Book: The Crimson Meniscus
Author: Jason Werbeloff

The Crimson Meniscus is a set of six dystopian sci-fi short stories.

Before I go on to tell you what the book is about let me talk a little bit about the setting. So sometime in the future there’s a place called The Bubble protected by and separated from the rest of the world by a force field. The Bubble is the land of plenty with wine fountains and automated hover cabs where the inhabitants live a luxurious life. 

Then there’s The Gutter, home to the poor and destitute who struggle for survival. They are beholden to the state for their very existence. Their organs are routinely ‘harvested’ for the inhabitants of The Bubble, and replaced by low-quality generic ‘printed’ organs. The Bubble isn’t even visible to the Gutter inhabitants without special glasses.

The divide is complete.

It is in this setting that Jason Werbeloff weaves his stories – dark, twisted and gory.

What I liked

I like books set in an alternate universe. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I find it intriguing how an author sets out to build a whole different world limited only by his imagination and yet manages to make it plausible for the reader. Here he does it deftly, meticulously and I was drawn right in.

Also, the stories have unexpectedly twisted ending. They talk about how the world is being taken over by technology and the dangers therein. They talk about the frightening results of meddling with the natural order of things. I specially liked that most of them present the reader with a moral dilemma of sorts with grey areas that keep one trying to figure the right from the wrong.

Most of all, even beyond what the individual stories talk about, the book brings home in horrifying reality how terrible the world can become if we shut ourselves in our own small secure ‘bubbles’ of existence. In the alternate universe created by the author the rich struggle with problems that come with privilege, problems of excess – a lung gone bad, a heart that’s dying out. They proceed to buy organs without a twinge, without for a moment wondering what happens to the people from whom the organs are harvested. They are completely indifferent to the people from the Gutter and unaware of their own privilege. Because, to them, that’s just the way life is.

That was my biggest takeaway from the book, a shocking realisation of what the world can become if the privileged continue to apathetically cordon themselves off from the underprivileged.

The one thing I didn’t quite like ..

….was the gore and I skipped paragraphs to avoid it. That said, I have to add that I have an unusually low tolerance for it and I do get that it was perhaps required in order to shock and appal the reader. And it did that with success. 

Joining the #TBRChallenge2020 hosted by @shalzmojo and @she_booked_it. This is my book for Prompt 1 – a book from a genre I usually avoid.

Last thought: If you like dark, twisted dystopian stories, this one’s for you.

10 thoughts on “The Crimson Meniscus #BookReview

    1. Obsessivemom Post author

      I hope you like it Tarang. Because it’s a bunch of sort stories, it’s even easier to read.

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  1. Rajlakshmi

    Wow this one sounds really dark. And sometimes I fear these dystopian novels often are too close to reality, even though they are set in future. Loved reading your review. I too can’t handle gore and often skip paragraphs. Too graphic too handle.

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    1. Obsessivemom Post author

      Yeah, I know. I used to steer clear of heavy reads but I have discovered I like dystopian works. It gives a bit of a glimpse of what things might become if we keep going the way we are.

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  2. writershilpa

    There was a series on Netflix, ‘Leila’. that had a somewhat similar setting. Areas cordoned off for the underprivileged who live in dismal conditions, and the privileged living a life of luxury. It was set in Mumbai and it gave me goosebumps imagining a Mumbai that could very well turn out like the one in this fictional piece.
    This story sounds really good coz I love stories that are set in another time zone–the future–that so many authors have predicted in varied ways.
    I would love to read this one, for sure! The cover photo grabbed the eyeballs! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Obsessivemom Post author

      Yeah I watched it. It was end was heart-wrenching. Let me know if you want the book.

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  3. Shalzmojo

    You seem to be on a roll reading YA and Sci fi mix these days Tulika. This one doesnt appeal to me as much as the Lumar Chronicles and have that down on my TBR

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