Mostly-Spoiler-Free Review: Birthmarked

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“There are many ways to be a criminal or hero.”

We didn’t listen to the doomsday preppers. We laughed at them and their walled-off city. . .  until doomsday came.

Author: Caragh M. O’Brien

Centuries after the earth got extra crispy, the city dwellers are all inbred hemophiliacs and the refugee city outside is their only hope for genetic diversity. What’s a crumbling culture to do? Open the gates, build schools, and trade with the people opening up new social realms and ending the inbreeding. . . Nope! Take their babies of course!

We have a brilliant plan! Kidnapped their babies, raise them as our own, without keeping track of their biological family, so we still have cases of inbreeding. . . Wait, we didn’t think this through. . .

I can’t tell if the inept, corrupt government makes this story more or less believable. I can see corrupt government officials looking for the quick fix instead of addressing the real issues, but the solution to this is so obvious! Open the damn gates!

I’m going to assume that the technology for test tube babies is gone. but this is not hard to figure out. You need more genetic diversity, and you don’t have time to mess around. so use a multipronged approach to intermingle with the people outside.

Before you ask, no there is not a resource shortage, they already provide resources and do trading with the people outside the city. Just encourage the people in the city to socialize with the people outside the city! You can set up a school system that mixes the two classes together. Heck, arrange marriages and set up a lottery system for the poor people like in the Selection series, and this is just off the top of my head! Think for two seconds and you can end inbreeding in one generation. Easy!

Of course, the big issue is that nearly everyone in the city is at least a carrier of hemophilia, which means out-breeding won’t save you. I’m no geneticist, but hemophilia is one of the easiest genetic conditions to understand, and it is so badly done here, I honestly think the author didn’t even bother researching genetic disorders. I won’t get into that here, I’m going to write a separate rant about that later.

I thought that Birthmarked had an interesting idea, I was set for some big “soilent green is made of people” kind of twist. I was really wondering: what does happened to the babies? sure the government says they are giving them a better life, but what’s really. . . oh, they really are given a better life. Well, that’s boring. Birthmarked doesn’t have anything to say about society and the human condition. Just that incest is bad, thanks couldn’t have figured that out on my own!

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