Vox by Christina Dalcher made me wake up thinking about potential outcomes. The story is about a futuristic U.S. in which the president and his cohorts are working to silence women. Women are forced to wear word counter bracelets which allow them 100 words a day. Anything over this allotment results in severe electric shock.
Jean (Gianna) Rossi is actually a doctor of neuroscience, but under this regime she is a stay-at-home mom (along with all women). She watches her oldest son being pulled/brainwashed into this new “Pure” ideology, while fearing for her youngest daughter’s desire to speak at all. Girls’ schooling is now focused on home economics and accounting, and the girls are given incentives to speak as few words as possible during their day. Those in power seem desperate to silence women and anyone against their agenda by any means.
Jean is suddenly pulled back into a special team to work on curing speech aphasia. The team includes her former lover (this relationship gets complicated). Her work team had just found a solution before everything changed. Now they are together again to cure the president’s brother. But not all is as it seems. Is the president’s brother even in need of this cure, or are they using them to impede speech for all women permanently?
Jean has frequent flashbacks of her feminist college roommate who wanted nothing more than for Jean to speak up. Now she realizes that doing nothing empowers evil even more. She finds that she has what it takes to rebel. Despite some medical terminology that was at times over my head, I couldn’t stop reading. Readers will definitely be intrigued by this frightening future devoid of women’s voices.