This was probably the most absurd book I have read in a while. I’m still debating whether it was absurd in a good way.
I loved the cover of the book – how very science fiction-ey. It immediately grabbed my attention. You know how some say the first few pages of the book decide its fate – if it is slow, dull or too drastic, it probably wouldn’t hold everyone’s attention. I think The Babi Makers will have no problem keeping people involved right at the very start. The first eight pages are spent describing a lavish meal – with warm, brothy noodle soup and crispy, cool, delicious carrots (I don’t even like carrot but these sounded amazing!) You start to really get into the whole thing and then out of nowhere, the people eat a ‘babi’.
The summary provided by the author didn’t warn me that the book was going to contain cannibalism. Here’s why it’s there. Once upon a time, some sort of meteor hit the earth and destroyed everything on it. The few people who survived The Fall ate whatever animals and plants were remaining. The ground was too damaged to produce any new plants. Soon the people began to eat each other, to keep from dying of starvation, until soon they discovered that they could make and eat babies. And we reach the present, in Nove, a planet where the making of babies is a major industry. To control population, only a few selected people are allowed to raise babies, called “Life Babies” and the rest are eaten. Babies aren’t exactly given birth to either, but produced in factories and men and women are from a certain age onward “milked” for their genetic material.
The descriptions are gruesome, as I suppose they were intended, and painfully graphic. I can stomach the goriest of things, horror or otherwise, but this was an entirely new level of Yuck! for me. Eating babies? How can anyone even come up with that? I liked the concept and implementation of the new world, controlled reproduction and all that – but why this? If the only purpose of it was to shock people, stir things up, it worked, I guess, but not for the best. The whole idea of cutting, cooking and eating babies, introduced so early on and described in such excruciating detail, was a huge turn off.
The author has clearly created a very intricate world, I liked discovering it slowly, diving deeper every ten pages. The extensive chapters, describing the long history of the planet and its current working, presented as lessons the Life Babies were taught by scholastic manager Atreus were my favourite parts of the book.
Overall, it was a fairly well written book, weirdly fascinating in places, concise, immensely imaginative and with full, developed characters. I guess whether you might like it just depends on how far you are able to open your mind!