The Sky Inside

My current book-for-fun is Clare Dunkle’s The Sky Inside, which I first heard of when placing my monthly standing order with Listening Library two months ago (it was one of the featured new titles for that month).  I was intrigued by the book’s premise, but couldn’t find any reviews online at that time – the only resource I could locate was the novel’s first chapter on Amazon.  I was home sick that day, so I took the time to read the entire first chapter, and I was hooked.  When Nanette brought me the processed, ready to circulate book last week, there was no doubt that I would be the first patron to check it out and take it home.

I’m about halfway through The Sky Inside, and enjoying it.  Living in a frighteningly vanilla world, Martin and his friends and neighbors have no idea how molded and manipulated they are.  Everything about their lives is tightly controlled, most especially the atmosphere, since their suburb is inside a protective dome with no direct access to the outside world.  “Packets” come and go from the dome, carrying food and supplies in and the bodies of those who have died out, but no residents are allowed to leave.  Any resident who disobeys the social order ends up on televised game shows that pretend to be fun and games, but really are a means for eliminating the problem citizens.  Though most viewers don’t realize it, when contestants fail on the shows, they are killed on live television, either by lethal injection or by falling to their deaths or by being shot.  And children?  Married couples don’t have children naturally, they purchase models of children that are advertised on television. 

Martin’s younger sister (in this world, it’s very rare to have two children in a family, since each child bears a high price tag) belongs to the troubling generation of Wonder Babies.  Though initially advertised as the best things to hit the suburb, Wonder Babies turned out to be children who are devastatingly intelligent and ask so many questions that no adult will teach them in school - these children teach themselves.  Over time, the Wonder Babies begin to be known as the “freaks,” and no adult protests when a man arrives in the suburb via a packet, a rare occurrence, and offers to take all of the Wonder Babies away with him…

And that’s where I am in the story right now.  Pretty creepy.  I’m not a science fiction fan, so my thoughts on this work aren’t as educated or sophisticated as, say, my brother’s would be (Dan does know his science fiction), but at this point in my reading, I give The Sky Inside an A-.  When I’ve finished it, I’ll let you know its final grade.