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The Shining Wall

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  17 reviews
In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege and security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, and the exploitation of women in the shanty towns and wastelands beyond the fortress city.
This is the frightening yet moving story of orphaned Alida and her younger siste
Paperback, 298 pages
Published April 2019 by Transit Lounge, Melbourne
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Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews
The Shining Walls by Melissa Ferguson. (2019).

The world is ruined. The wealthy elite hide behind walls while living longer thanks to technology. Security and labour is provided by cloned Neandertals. Women in the shanty towns and wastelands are exploited.
Alida is orphaned and caring for her younger sister in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall. They will be forced to enter the City separately and may not see each other again.
Shuqba is a cloned Neandertal officer who has been exiled to the Dem
Melissa Manning
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Whether dystopian is your go to genre or not, (it's not usually mine!) this is a cracking story. Strong, believable characters, incredible world building. Humour, grit and a rolling pace that maintains the momentum throughout. Relationships are nuanced and Ferguson has so much to say about the inequities of our world, environmental degradation, and the things that the have nots in society must do to survive - and all of this is seamlessly woven into story without a hint of didacticism.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Shining Wall was a real cross over book for me. I found that it had incorporated the best elements from other books and spined it into a strong and unyielding tale. You have a dystopian society of a ruined world, which is written better than many other dystopian worlds I have read. You get the wealthy people of the world living privlidge lives beyond the shining wall, which is very much has a Hunger Games kinda feel to it. You have robot technology which provides security and order, and that ...more
Cass Moriarty
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
The blurb of The Shining Wall (Transit Lounge Publishing 2019) tells us that author Melissa Ferguson is ‘a cancer-fighting scientist who loves to explore scientific possibilities through fiction’, and in her debut novel about the dystopian society of a ruined world, she certainly combines her scientific knowledge with her creative imagination to create a world both frightening and apocalyptic.
This is a story about power – the powerful and the powerless, the haves and the have nots. In a future
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘She loved Mum, but there was only so far love could take you in life.’

In this ruined world, the shining wall protects the haves from the have-nots. Inside the wall, wealthy humans live their long and privileged lives, supported by technology and cloned Neandertals. And by services provided by women living outside the wall. Outside the wall, in the demi-settlements, where poverty and disease are rampant, people must scavenge for food and other essential supplies. They also need to avoid the ever
Dasha M
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stark, powerful and inventive, Ferguson’s novel questions the nature of humanity and compassion in a world bereft of both. This is a book that challenged my generally-held assumption that science fiction isn’t my jam...
Read my review for the Newtown Review of Books via my site here:
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great book I made a goodreads account just to review it, I remember coming from work to dymocks and seeing the book there and from the blurb it grabbed my attention. What creative world building and character development that doesn’t rely on killing off characters to develop a story. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read and haven’t had an outstanding experience with a book like this in years.
Rebecca Stock
Allie Reynolds
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, the idea of cloning Neandertals, especially because it's written by a scientist. The story describes a futuristic world that feels terrifyingly real. The characters were complex and interesting, the plot original and unpredictable.
The female main character was likeable and oh-so-vulnerable in this dangerous future world, so I was gripped throughout and fearing for her safety.
Great writing too. There were some lines I really loved, like this line (a
Rebecca Bowyer
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
"LeaderCorp didn't care about people. Everything was a transaction to them. If the cost exceeded their benefit, there was no point."

The Shining Wall, by Melissa Ferguson, imagines a future dystopia that mashes together all the worst possible scenarios from a deeply humanised perspective - climate change, human destruction (increased radiation levels are mentioned), exploitation of the poor, genetic engineering and advanced tech.

The story opens with Alida carrying her mother's dead body to the bi
Alex Fairhill
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fresh and intelligent take on a dystopian world in which Neandertals have been bred by humans, and society is split into classes.

The writing ia crisp, smart, funny and heartbreaking; and the characters are fully rounded as they explore topics such as health care (or lack of it), morals and class systems, and slavery and self-determination.

A fantastic story that hooked me and kept me thinking long after the final page.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Quit the book at 200 pages. I just couldn’t care about the characters, they were far too bland just following a jumpy plot. Bit disappointed as the blurb sounded interesting, but if the plot was jumpy with two-dimensional characters by 200 pages, with only 100 pages to go, then I don’t see how it could have improved.
Clare Rhoden
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Shining Wall encapsulates the human condition without being preachy or judgemental. The plot is neat and the characters engaging - or repulsive as appropriate! I am reviewing this for a magazine so will post a fuller review after that commitment.
In the meantime, do read this is you like intelligent, humanist, engaging dystopian stories.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Three and a half rounded up to four

It was a bit messed up reading this dystopian novel while the local environment was a bit dystopian and friends were getting caught up in the fires and the air being toxic
Lee Belbin
Dec 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
I gave up on this one at 25% read. Nothing grabbed me in the slightest. No meaningful storyline. Post apocalyptic mush of the poor, sick and sorry masses, with Neanderthal clones doing the menial work? Spare me. Life is too short for this one.
Dianne Schmidt
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Shining Wall hooked me in from the very first page .It is a story set in a terrifying dystopian future where the rich live in a walled city and the poor struggle for survival in the slums outside. There's also advanced technology that has reached out of control levels and Neanderthals have been cloned as servants to the rich . The story follows Alida a human and Shuqba a cloned Neanderthal as their lives bring them into each other paths and an unlikely friendship forms. I was immediately inv ...more
Sonia Ferguson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just loved this book. My emotions were sparked in the first few pages. I love how we moved through a future world with the many parallels to the present. With the privileged behind the wall and the poor and downtrodden outside trying to scrape a living. Cloning of Neanderthals was a nice addition to the story. How man would take advantage of science for their benefit. There was also humour in the story and close bond amongst different characters. I would not normally read this genre but found it ...more
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May 27, 2019
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Russell Standring
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Jun 13, 2019
Jen Smith
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Melissa is a cancer-fighting scientist and defender of the reputation of Neandertals. While her family sleeps she thinks about cyborgs, cults, zombies, enchanted woods, future science, extinct species of humans, and infectious diseases, and tries to mash them together into awesome stories. Her short stories have appeared in Postscripts to Darkness, Pavor Nocturnis Dark Fiction Anthology, [untitled ...more

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