EVERYBODY LOVES JEMMA7729! by Phoebe Wray
Reviews, Testimonials and Interviews:
Jemma7729 is a science fiction novel that takes place in the near future after civil unrest has brought an authoritarian government into being. Women are accused of most of the problems leading to the unrest, and so they are now considered second-class citizens, both protected and restrained. The Administrative Government of North America, the AGNA, rules with an iron hand: everything is regulated, people are divided by class, live in domed megacities, and told the countryside beyond the domes is toxic.
The protagonist of the story is Jemma7729, a girl of age five when the tale begins. She belongs to one of the "privileged" classes where the women are considered "stable." Her father is Regional Administrator for the Environment for the L.A. Basin; her mother is a model wife who holds spy-parties where she can gather information on her guests to pass along to the authorities. Jemma7729 has a rebellious streak and a zest for living that is frowned on.
When she turns seven, Jemma7729 must make a career choice on her official Choosing Day. She has the options of: Wife, Fiction Writer, Facilities designer/Interior designer, Corporate assistant, Listener, Museum worker. But Jemma7729 has been exposed to life beyond the authorized view, and she wants none of these. This situation brings her into conflict with the AGNA who have the power to alter her independent mind into a smiling zombie-state or delete her completely. Jemma7729 escapes into the country and becomes plain "Jemma" who is, in the eyes of the government, a terrorist, but in the eyes of many rebellious people, a heroine. If she is caught, the penalty is permanent deletion.
The story traces her growth, from an angry child to a mature young woman, still fighting against authority for her rights and the rights of others, especially on behalf of the suppressed women. The book is described by one writer as a "feminist dystopian novel." Well-written and thoughtful, the novel describes a brutal world we would today consider gone slightly-mad.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups and workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
"It's not easy to make a feminist dystopian novel into a heartbreaking page-turner, but Phoebe Wray has done exactly that with JEMMA7729. Recommended." - Suzette Haden Elgin, author
"In this new adventure, Brave New World meets The Handmaid's Tale, with some serious ass-kicking along the way. The character of Jemma and her fight for a life of her own rings true with its themes of government control, genetic manipulation, cloning, and repression of women. Author Phoebe Wray is a welcome addition to the pantheon of feminist science fiction writers." - Louise Marley (Terrorists of Irustan, The Glass Harmonica, The Child Goddess, The Maquisarde)
"It's a futurist novel with some interesting kinks. I think you'll like it." - Amazon.com
"This is author Phoebe Wray's debut novel, and against all odds, she succeeds in giving a nuanced look at the nature of political organizations. Like the late Benazir Bhutto, JEMMA lives in a land where there is both good and evil, but not everyone is wholly good or wholly evil. JEMMA's courage is a flag and a beacon for the freedom of choice. Wray teaches in the Theatre Division at the Boston conservancy. She has also taught at the University of Southern California and Bradford College. Boys and girls will enjoy the action of JEMMA2279, while teachers and parents will find the chapters providing lively discussions of topics both current and speculative." - Foreword Magazine
"The right stuff seems to resonate in the first few sentences, where it counts. The set-up sketches the state of affairs in the narrator's high-tech, big-brother's-watching world ...Techno-jargon segues to familiar territory as Jemma's voice emerges, wry, precocious and believable... The hook is set, promising a good read for the next 200-plus pages." &emdash; M. E. Jones, The Public Spirit
"This is one of the most interesting Science Fiction novels I've read in a long time. What makes Jemma7729 stand out is the strong heroine and the feminist issues Wray weaves in the story, making the reader wonder and think at its implications." &emdash; Mayra Calvani, Blogcritics.org
"Jemma lives! Years ago, Phoebe Wray, at the time a new bud, sent me a manuscript &emdash; her first novel. As soon as I started reading Phoebe's work &emdash; the following's a cliché, but it's true &emdash; I couldn't put it down. Wow! It's a futuristic sci-fi novel about a warrior-babe rebel who embarrasses an incompetent government. Now, after many years and revisions, Phoebe's been rewarded for her effort, patience, and perseverance. Her rockin' novel just hit the stores. It's called "Jemma7729." Check it out. Jemma lives!" &emdash; Francesca De Grandis, author of The Modern Goddess' Guide to Life: How to Be Absolutely Divine on a Daily Basis
"I truly enjoyed the heck out of this book. I read tons of fantasy and sci-fi, and I LOVED Jemma. She's intriguing, real, and very human. This is one of those books you think about when you've put it down to go to work, or you're cooking dinner. Jemma haunts you and demands your attention. The futuristic world is based in a reality we don't share, but the qualities we have in common are enough to chill you. I strongly recommend this book &emdash; in fact, I am buying another copy for my sister. Phoebe Wray is an amazing author. I look forward to future books!" &emdash; Leslie Chapman, Amazon.com
"This near future, one person against the system, story, might seem a little basic, but the author does a fine job with it. It's interesting, plausible and it's well worth reading." &emdash; Paul Lappen, Amazon.com
"This near future, one person against the system, story, might seem a little basic, but the author does a fine job with it. It's interesting, plausible and it's well worth reading." &emdash; Dead Trees Review