by Nancy Fulda
Genre: Short Story
Release date: 23 November 2013
Source: Review copy from the author
via Audiobook Jukebox
Date Read: 23 January 2014
Narrator: J.R. Mangels
Unabridged audio: Length: approx 19 minutes
Six-year-old Jason doesn't want to be cloned, even if his parents think it's a good financial investment. Concerned that his second self may not be happy, he secretly plans to violate the rules of his society... with unexpected results.
Blue ink refers to the tattoos that all clones get in this futuristic world. Their serial numbers are tattooed in blue ink on their foreheads. Except for the menial jobs that clones do, I am not quite sure of their purpose in this world. Jason's father refers to the fact that if all goes well with his clone(s), Jason will never have to work when he becomes an adult. I can only assume that this means that the clones' “owners” are paid for their servitude in society.
This makes for a very sad life for clones. And Jason is very worried that his clone will not be happy. He has been discouraged for any interaction with clones but have secretly spoken with a few and feel sorry for the lives they have to lead. He wants to make sure that his
clone has a good life but his parents refuses to give him the opportunity to meet his first clone.
As soon as clones are “born” they are herded off to special institutions where they are taught all they need to know. Clones are definitely second class citizens in this world.
Short stories are either a hit or miss for me, there is just no in-between in this genre. Luckily the author got it right in Blue Ink. I think sci-fi fantasies lend themselves perfectly to this genre. If only we could have gotten to know more about Jason, his clone and their reality. I usually love these open endings which leaves you thinking . . . “oh no!” but with Blue Ink I found myself wanting more.
I think Blue Ink would make a wonderful novel and I hope that the author is considering it. I would love to learn more about this “sad” world.
I really enjoyed the narration too. JR Mangels made the transition from actor to narrator easily and had a very easy-to-listen-to voice. I think we will be hearing lots more from him in future.
All in all, I think Blue Ink is worth searching out. Although it is short, it packs a punch.