Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Docile” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.44  ·  Rating details ·  3,508 ratings  ·  1,146 reviews
There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your
Hardcover, 492 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Docile, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Nomadic Reader (Baba Yaga) So let me get this straight: you created a new (private) Goodreads account with the sole purpose of harassing a queer author who wrote a DYSTOPIAN boo…moreSo let me get this straight: you created a new (private) Goodreads account with the sole purpose of harassing a queer author who wrote a DYSTOPIAN book with sex slavery in it? It's a dystopia for God's sake. Bad things happen. You're not supposed to approve of the sex slavery!

Just out of curiosity: were you also mad at Margaret Atwood because of the sex slavery in The Handmaid's Tale? Did you leave angry comments complaining about the rape scenes in George R.R. Martin's books? Or do you only get mad when unknown debut authors who just so happen to be LGBTQ write about these topics?

The reason Wen Zhao was horribly bullied on this and other websites was precisely that people who hadn't even read her book decided it was "problematic", and proceeded to harass and boycott her until she decided to pull her book from publication. You're now trying to do the exact same thing to another marginalized author.

Long story short: you don't have to read this book. If you're uncomfortable with reading about sexual abuse - and I *totally* understand why that would be the case - just give it a pass. But people have a right to write FICTION about uncomfortable topics. Other people have a right to read it. You want to discuss this book? Great, read it and write your own review. But don't attack the author, or the people who chose to read the book - especially when the author is from a marginalized group that is already struggling to get representation in media. Also: just because a bad thing happens in a book, doesn't mean that the author approves of that thing!

(BTW, I strongly suspect the user who asked this question is using a fake account. But I'm gonna leave my answer here anyway in case someone needs to read it).(less)
Contrarius Um, what? Do you seriously believe this is the only book in the entire lexicon of American literature that includes rape? SERIOUSLY??

Rape Is Bad. Incl…more
Um, what? Do you seriously believe this is the only book in the entire lexicon of American literature that includes rape? SERIOUSLY??

Rape Is Bad. Including rape in stories is a part of showing that Bad Things Happen. Which part of that simple concept do you not understand?(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,508 ratings  ·  1,146 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Docile
Jul 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
I received an ARC of this book from the publishing company in exchange for a fair and honest review. Content warning: rape (also from the POV of the rapist), dubious consent, sexual harassment, attempted suicide.

Docile is set in near-ish-future Maryland, at a time when people who’ve amassed debt can erase it by selling themselves into (usually temporary) slavery. Most slaves take “Dociline”, a type of drug that makes a person highly obedient and keeps them from forming long-term memories
Elle (ellexamines)
Jun 13, 2018 marked it as zzzzz-coverporn-etc
most publishers currently: oh well I guess we can start including lgbtq characters in our books, occasionally, maybe, intellectuals: they’re all gay. they’re all gay and we don’t make the rules
Mar 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one, except racists I guess.
Recommended to Vin by: Racists
CONCLUSION; This book and in fact any writing by white LGBTQ+ people that is based off a racist premise from conception should never be praised or heralded. This is not a win for "the community" as much as it is a "win" for the racism already thriving within white LGBTQ+ stances and bodies of work. If you're going to market a book as making a critique of capitalism via "slavery and rape as metaphors" I would really hope there is 1) Actual critique of capitalism (besides platitudes and 101 analy ...more

ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch

Buddy Read with Jocelyn, Ness, & Sue! ❤
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer
I... truly do not know how I feel about this book. It was well written and compulsively readable and I can see what it was trying to do, but it definitely felt like it went on a little too long and lost a lot of the power behind it's punch. I also think marketing this book as a "sexy BDSM dystopia" was a... weird move? The book does have a few sexually explicit scenes, but they are definitely not the larger focus of the story and I almost feel like drawing so much attention to them will lead peo ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
My general opinion of Docile by K.M. Szpara is that it was fine.

The writing was beyond excellent, lots of delicious word pictures. The indulgent decadence of the upper-class, the fine layers of dust over everything else, the quiet horror of a terrible system, the lush descriptions of this Maryland society. Love that for this book!

Docile wants me to take it seriously, so let me a downer for a few paragraphs.

Perhaps the real lesson of Docile is of tempering expectations. The hype around it, tha
Monte Price
Feb 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Monte by: Melanie
Shelves: 2020-releases
... despite excellent pacing and a gripping narrative, Szpara fails to address the history of slavery in America—a history that is race-based and continues to shape the nation. This is a story with fully realized queer characters that is unafraid to ask complicated questions; as a parable, it functions well. But without addressing this important aspect of the nation and economic structures within which it takes place, it cannot succeed in its takedown of oppressive systems.

this is the sec
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)
Me every time I see Docile on my feed:

So, what's this book about
Docile is told in the near (alternate) future. Debt is at an alltime high when the Next of Kin law. Debt can no longer be erased by death. It is now passed down generation by generation. To deal with this debt, people have the option to become a Docile. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of y
James Tivendale
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an uncorrected proof copy of Docile in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank K. M. Szpara and Tor for the opportunity.

Docile is the story of Elisha. He is a young gentleman who volunteers to become a Docile to pay off his parents' debt which is at a catastrophic amount of £3,000,000. If he had not proposed this then his mother and father would have been placed in debtors prison. A docile is essentially a slave. They become the property of the patron who pays off their
Apr 23, 2020 marked it as dnf
Recommends it for: fans of slavefic smut
Recommended to Tatiana by: Tor
Shelves: 2020, romancelandia
DNF at 20%

I think I now have a pretty good idea of what this is, and I am not in a mood for more. A high concept slavefic erotica that belongs on Kindle Unlimited, not to be published and marketed by Tor as some kind of groundbreaking dystopia. Even if this novel delves deeper into the issues of consent later on, the whole tone of it is just off.

Rolling my eyes really hard at people who have found some deep meaning in this book, when it clearly is 450 pages of dubious consent smut. Like The Cla
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

"There is no consent under capitalism."

Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, queer
Docile was not what I expected. Cover, title, premise and tagline are all gorgeous. It's actual cover porn. I'd seen this book around a lot and was hyped to finally read it.

So what is it about? It's set in a world where debt is passed down in families and can be erased by debtors that sell themselves into slavery - the higher the debt, the longer the term. One of the richest families in near-future America has developed a drug called Dociline. Take the drug, and you will spend your time as a sla
Charlie Anders
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don't call KM Szpara's Docile a dystopia. This book is something much stranger and yet closer to our own reality. Szpara has an amazing gift for immersing us in a world of exploitation and unbearable tenderness, and making it feel familiar and inescapable. Reading Docile changed me and left me with a new awareness of the structures of oppression that surround me. This book is an unforgettable story of human connection and the struggle to remain yourself in a world of debtors and creditors. ...more
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

“There is no consent under capitalism”

Docile is one of those books that is already controversial and will always be. You should simply try it to see if it works for you or not. I actually did not know what to expect when I got into the book but things are clear for me now! I saw this being compared to 50 Shades of Grey and I can see why!


The writing is very good and gripping, I think I finished the book in 3 days and I wanted to read more spe
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dennis by: Tor/Forge
Docile is one of my most anticipated reads for 2020 so thank you Tor Books for this advanced copy. It's safe to say that Docile is one of my favorite reads for the year.

Set in a near-future dystopian world, Maryland, the setting for this story, passes the Next of Kin Law where debt cannot be erased by death or bankruptcy, but passed down for generations. Families crippled by healthcare costs, student loans, and other expenses value up to the millions and the disparity between the rich a
Sep 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I recently read a heartfelt and heartbreaking book called ‘My Tender Matador’ by Pedro Lemebel. Set in Santiago during the unsuccessful 1986 assassination attempt on Pinochet, it centres on an aging drag queen simply called the Queen of the Corner (because the ramshackle house she lives in is literally located on a corner.)

She embroiders tablecloths etc. for military wives to make ends meet. Ironically, this makes the Queen of the Corner quite extraordinarily connected in her world, even if she
Jessica Woodbury
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, speculative
Update: I've downgraded to 2 stars. The more I think about it the more this book doesn't sit well with me and I don't want to recommend it.

I saw someone say that this book reads like fan fiction and that is a really accurate description. This isn't an insult, fanfic is lovely and a rich tapestry, but it's worth noting when it comes to the style of the prose, many of the themes, and particularly the sex scenes. (They are very very detailed, a staple of fanfic, not so much a staple of non-romance
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I can already tell that this is going to be just like "Captive Prince" by C. S. Pacat where people scream about how problematic it is without reading it in full and seeing how well the author talked about and discussed in all the nitty gritty detail of just how fucked up this whole book was and HOW WELL IT ALL WRAPS UP.

Things I loved;
- the writing; so simple and precise but also so well crafted
- the characters; SO FLESHED OUT. seriously some of the best characters I've read in a while
Freya Marske
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Do you ever find yourself thinking, "Gee, I wish CAPTIVE PRINCE and PRETTY WOMAN would have an alarming baby that they then dressed in pastel button-downs and frat boy glasses"?


This is a smart, super-readable m/m social-sci-fi romance novel about debt slavery, the complexities of consent, and OUR INEVITABLE CAPITALIST HELLSCAPE. I read my ARC at the speed of light and had a wonderful time.
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Q: Do you really believe you have any free will left? (c)
Education in this dystopia is a hoot:
“I paid off my PhD in only three years as a Docile. Nothing but opportunity lies before me, now.”
“Why are you here?” ...
“To pay off my debt.”...
“College debt,” he adds. “Turns out a philosophy major isn’t what it used to be.” (c)

In this book which is more of erotica than sci-fi, BTW, they have loads of crazy stuff (besides erotica / very dubious con):
- Nexus,
- Dociline,
- Empower Maryland,
- A socie
Emily Duncan
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book held me by the throat and punched me in the face and I said thank you very much.
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio - 5 Stars
Story DNF @ 64%

The ratings don't lie.
This went from an interesting conversional piece to I just don't care anymore.

Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is an incredibly challenging book to review. On the one hand, I couldn't put it down. It pushed the boundaries of what I feel like is acceptable in commercial fiction, and there's a lot of value in that. It contends with really thorny questions of consent and medical ethics and morality.

On the other hand, it vacillates painfully between interesting, meticulous commentary and absolutely cringeworthy Kink 101 sex scenes and tropes straight out of "my mom sold me to One Direction" fanfiction
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
This book isn’t the kind of one where I can write two cute summarizing lines and say it constitutes a review. My draft is already two pages long and is nowhere near done, but this book includes extremely provoking topics that require a lot of unpacking and analysis, and because of that it’s important to me that I spend the time getting the review right. So in that case, review to come.

> 3.5 stars

i received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for a review
h o l l i s
Hello darkness, aka I don’t know what to rate what I read, my old friend..

So my biggest problem with this book had nothing to do with this book. I got stuck at 30% for almost two weeks after being beat-up by the flu and then I went into a slump. I felt no motivation to pick this back up (or anything else, really, though I felt honour bound to finish what I had started) because the beginning of this book is the most uncomfortable part.

In the beginning we are neck deep in watching Alex, our rich
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is trying to do a lot of things, which I find commendable. It's trying to be political AND romantic, explore privilege and abuse of power and the failures of capitalism...and include a lot of kinky BDSM sex. These are a lot of things! This would be, for any book, incredibly difficult to balance! And this one just can't manage it. It wants to be slavefic but with serious implications, but it can't clear the almost impossibly high hurdle of tone and characterization and nuance necessary ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
Incredibly engaging, but also a book with a lot of complicated ideas. I have to think about it for a bit.


So, my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Some of the online furor surrounding this book is the lack of engagement with the historical history of slavery in the US. I agree that the story didn't feel complete without some mention of that history. But. And this is a very large "but," I really do have to wonder how well received any commentary of that nature would be received coming from a w
Yeah this book is a no for me. I made it 50 pages in and wondered why, in addition to feeling like the characters were bland, the world was underdeveloped, and there were obvious patching of plot holes (like, it makes no sense that Alex is forced to get a docile?), it was making me feel icky. (Note: I hadn't even gotten to a scene with dubious sexual consent yet, although I was anticipating it).

Apparently there is an actual (mostly fanfic) subgenre called "slavefic" and Docile is a published ve
CW: dubcon/noncon, rape (sometimes written in the first person POV of the rapist), depression, suicide ideation and attempt, torture and punishments

Docile has been on my highly anticipated list of 2020 since the first time I saw its tag line “There’s no consent under capitalism”. And all my excitement quadrupled when I got a chance to attend a panel by the author and also have some great interaction with him, during which he gave me a personalized ARC copy. This is my first ever physical ARC and
Caidyn (he/him/his)

CW: bad view of BDSM (as in, vaguely consensual), slavery, forced drugging, and forced sex

If I say it once, I'll say it many times. I can't believe that this is Szpara's debut novel. Because, damn. This book was amazing.

It takes place in a futuristic world where debts can now be passed down to children through the generations. To clear these debts, people can become Dociles. Aka, slaves to people who are clearing them of their debts in exchange for years of their life doing whatever they wa
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • When We Were Vikings
  • Such a Fun Age
  • Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars, #1)
  • Saint X
  • Tarnished Are the Stars
  • The Other Mrs.
  • The Deathless Girls
  • Bury the Lede
  • The Wives
  • Behind Every Lie
  • The Midwinter Witch (The Witch Boy, #3)
  • The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek
  • Little Weirds
  • Seven Deadly Shadows
  • He Started It
  • Race to the Sun
  • American Dirt
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
See similar books…
LGBT > Gay
See top shelves…
K.M. Szpara is a queer and trans author who lives in Baltimore, MD, with a tiny dog. Kellan's debut alt-/near-future novel, DOCILE (Spring 2020, Publishing), explores the snowballing debt crisis, consent, and privilege, and can be described as "really gay". He is the author of "Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time," a Hugo and Nebula nominated novelette about a gay trans man who's bitte ...more

Articles featuring this book

  Author C.L. Clark is no newcomer to the sci-fi and fantasy scene. Though she just published her first novel, The Unbroken, earlier this year,...
127 likes · 12 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I lock doors. I ask questions. I set boundaries.” 3 likes
“I didn't bare my feelings so you could explain why they were wrong. I wanted your support.” 1 likes
More quotes…