Ten years after child prodigy Remy had an accident which robbed her of a prestigious future, she walks the edge between life on Solaray-lit Level One and the gloom of the UnderDome, waiting for an opportunity to return to her place among the elite ruling class and put the nightmare of living as a sub-human behind her. In the first book of the Dome Trilogy, Remy's life spirals from her control; she is condemned to live her life in the most reviled pit in the Dome world, known to be populated by brutish beasts too inhuman to even live on the edge of society. When she arrives, however, she discovers that humanity does not belong only to the citizen, life on Level One is not what she had believed it to be, and a threat more grave than the UnderDome, itself, lurks just beyond its shadows.
In 2014, author Jessica “Jess” Alter published the third and final installment in an epic social science fiction trilogy filled with sex, tech, and firearms.
Her Cryptid Series, which combines cryptid lore and the modern scientific world with unexpected and thrilling results, is on multiple ebook platforms. The second book in the series, Man and Brother, continues the adventure begun in 'Til Undeath Do Us Part.
Beneath a Sunless Sky is a very large and very serious work of modern Science Fiction. In a genre dominated by cop-outs and half-measures, this book actually imagines a world where science and society have run amok, and the consequences faced by those who have slipped between the cracks. The Dome World imagined by Jessica Alter is a place both beautiful and bleak. Like many scientific nirvanas, science has been used to create a world full of wonders and diversions. Much like our own world, this has come at a cost.
In this book, the author paints a picture of a split society right out of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine. While his work had mankind splitting into two species, Beneath a Sunless Sky has them split into two extremely distinct castes. Above ground, the intelligent elite live lives of wonder, ease, and casual amusement. They have produced a society of rock solid inequality binding people in chains of conformity and taboo. Below ground, those who have somehow failed to make it into the elite live lives of slavery and drudgery – considered less than human by those above.
The book takes a serious look at the issues of our time, the haves vs. the have-nots, and forwards a number of important questions about identity, culture, intelligence, and what truly constitutes freedom.
I really liked this book a lot, and felt that the issues and dilemmas were well thought out and well created. The world has a good solid feel to it, and it makes an excellent start to a series. On the downside, there are some signs that this is Jessica Alter’s first major work. There are some minor formatting issues, a few little problems here and there, and the story is very dramatic in parts.
If you’re looking for a modern work of Science Fiction that can stand toe-to-toe with many of the great series of the last hundred years, this series is worth considering. This first Science Fiction series from Jessica Alter promises far bigger and better things in the future. I believe she may some day be mentioned in the same context as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury. Today is not that day, but it’s always a real honor to watch the start of an amazing career.
To be brief, this is as wonderful an example of the rare genre of social science fiction as I can think of. It reminded me of early an George Lucas film (THX, not Star Wars). Remy goes through it all, so I will have to read books two and three. The idea of domes is not new, but the color scheme strata smacks of the racism, sexism, you name it -isms mankind keeps developing for division. Great drama in a familiar world full of tension and human foibles.
Really excellent sci-fi. I found the treatment of eugenics both terrifying and frighteningly likely.
I highly recommend this series for people who want to immerse themselves in an epic work. This is no light beach read, though the second book is a lot faster. Glad our book club started this series! I look forward to reading the rest of it.
The codified and solidified testing process reminds me of the stratified society we're heading to, where people chase not the *knowledge* of a degree, but the paper itself. Somehow having the degree is more useful than having gained any real skills or learning.
This was a tough read. The underlying story is so good it made me keep going. Took a while to get into it, but now I want to see what happens next.
There are lots of really cools scenes, and I love the the whole "segmented by test scores" kind of thing. Seems eerily possible. Going to buy the next book because I want to see where this goes. The cliff hangar was just too much for me!