Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Reading Time: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

I was given the book by my dear friend many, many years ago - while I was visiting her in Denmark.
And it has been one of my favorite novels since the very first time when I read it.
The story is set in the future and tells about Chip, member of the human Family ruled and totally controlled by the Uni and its omniscient Computer. All the world is Unified - separate countries no longer exist. Chip's real nameber is Li RM35M4419 which is displayed on the electronic bracelet he wears from the time he was born. It is nothing unusual - all members (who used to be called 'people' in the ancient past) wear such bracelets.  Wherever they go and whatever they do, they show their bracelets to computer scanners (placed everywhere) so Uni knows about everything and everybody.
Thanks to it, each and every member of the Uni Family can feel safe and taken care of.

reading SF book

The society/ members' lives are planned and organized by Uni:
  1. Each and every member looks the same - due to genetic engineering (children are created in laboratories). Only old members (around the age of 50/60) look different - they were born in pre-Uni times. However, also some of the younger members happen to have an ancient trait - lighter skin tone or different eye color/shape than others.
  2. All members get their monthly, obligatory treatment - an injection which helps them stay happy, content and calm. Nobody wants anything, nobody feels anything. Everybody is kind/indifferent to everybody.
  3. Each adult member/ a family has weekly meetings with their personal advisers designated by Uni.
  4. If a member shows signs of sickness: wants something particular or questions rules given by Uni, skips mandatory TV time or tends to use aggressive words, other members help him - they inform their advisers about the sick member. As a result of that, the latter one gets a special extra treatment, and is healthy again.
  5. There is no money and there are no stores - members work for the entire Family. If they need something, they claim it - put their bracelets on the computer scanners to inform theUniComp about it. The Computer accepts or denies their claims. Uni knows best.
  6. Love making is leveled to a weekly 10 minute physical activity.
  7. Uni decides on everybody and everything - from telling the members when they have to go to sleep and eat, what their professional careers are, whether they are to reproduce or not, to defining the time when they die.
Influenced by his grandpa (who helped to build the UniComp), Chip gradually evolves from being a usual and obedient member to getting curious how it could be if he got 'sick'. He learns many things not only about himself as a person and a human being, but also about others - other people, Uni and the UniComp.
I am rereading the book again. Although, within the years, I have already read it twice, I still find its plot quite intriguing, involving and interesting. Besides, I am rediscovering it too, as I cannot remember all the details described in the story, including its ending (I can recall the final part was quite a turn though).
All in all, thinking why I enjoy reading 'This Perfect Day' and what makes it so special, it is rather uneasy to precise it. The story of a member/members who wake up to being real persons is quite absorbing, also the way it is written matters. Certainly, it can be described as an entertaining novel but to decide whether you like it or not, you need to read the book yourself.

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