Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3 / 5 stars)
The world is ruled by wolves, and everyone else is a dog. Wolves are dominant. They are strong. They are the ideal being. When all hope is lost, do we just give in…or do we fight? Is complacency an option? Or does that cause us to lose our humanity?
In a homage to Brave New World, 1984, and Animal Farm, David Peter Swan’s story, Once When We Were Human, explores a topic that has been explored in many forms, although maybe not ever with dogs. Any of these books are important to read, and it humbles you to the human condition. Do not be complacent; complacency means you have lost your humanity.
While this message is always a strong one, the story could have been better executed. I kept forgetting I was reading about actual dogs (with words switching between paws and hands, and struggling to get on stools to sitting on a bench). Perhaps that was the point though; in this scenario, although they are dogs (that were once human), they are no different from us.
While there is nothing revolutionary about this story, it is always important to reexamine our part as humans. Are we just obedient to the prying wolves…or are we ready to fight for what we believe?
I guess that’s your decision to make.
What’s it about?
In this dystopian short-story the world has been divided into Dogs and Wolves. The powerless and the powerful. Unlike other dystopian tales of totalitarian governments imposed on society. The oppressive measures have been voted in by an apathetic mass excepting their fate and the destiny offered by their masters.
‘Once When We Were Human’ also draws parallels with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust and looks at how a technically modern fascist society might use propaganda and education camps for citizens who protest and challenge the state.
‘Once When We Were Human’ looks at what it is that makes us human and what it means when we no longer utilize the extra faculties of our species to make a difference in this world.
A homage to 1984 and Brave New World.