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The Offset

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It is your eighteenth birthday and one of your parents must die. You are the one who decides. Whom do you pick? In a dying world, the Offset ceremony has been introduced to counteract and discourage procreation. It is a rule that is simultaneously accepted, celebrated and abhorred. But in this world, survival demands sacrifice so for every birth, there must be a death. Profe It is your eighteenth birthday and one of your parents must die. You are the one who decides. Whom do you pick? In a dying world, the Offset ceremony has been introduced to counteract and discourage procreation. It is a rule that is simultaneously accepted, celebrated and abhorred. But in this world, survival demands sacrifice so for every birth, there must be a death. Professor Jac Boltanski is leading Project Salix, a ground-breaking new mission to save the world by replanting radioactive Greenland with genetically-modified willow trees. But things aren’t working out and there are discrepancies in the data. Has someone intervened to sabotage her life’s work? In the meantime, her daughter Miri, an anti-natalist, has run away from home. Days before their Offset ceremony where one of her mothers must be sentenced to death, she is brought back against her will following a run-in with the law. Which parent will Miri pick to die: the one she loves, or the one she hates who is working to save the world? ****************** “Calder Szewczak’s The Offset may be a literary first in giving central place to anti-natalism" David Benatar, author of Better Never to Have Been “Thrilling, terrifying and beautifully crafted, The Offset is the perfect science-fiction novel for our times. I devoured it.” – Angela Saini, author of Inferior “The Offset could do for environmentalism what Nineteen Eighty-Four did for socialism and Brave New World did for eugenics.” – Ken MacLeod, Prometheus and BSFA Award-winning author of The Corporation Wars series


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It is your eighteenth birthday and one of your parents must die. You are the one who decides. Whom do you pick? In a dying world, the Offset ceremony has been introduced to counteract and discourage procreation. It is a rule that is simultaneously accepted, celebrated and abhorred. But in this world, survival demands sacrifice so for every birth, there must be a death. Profe It is your eighteenth birthday and one of your parents must die. You are the one who decides. Whom do you pick? In a dying world, the Offset ceremony has been introduced to counteract and discourage procreation. It is a rule that is simultaneously accepted, celebrated and abhorred. But in this world, survival demands sacrifice so for every birth, there must be a death. Professor Jac Boltanski is leading Project Salix, a ground-breaking new mission to save the world by replanting radioactive Greenland with genetically-modified willow trees. But things aren’t working out and there are discrepancies in the data. Has someone intervened to sabotage her life’s work? In the meantime, her daughter Miri, an anti-natalist, has run away from home. Days before their Offset ceremony where one of her mothers must be sentenced to death, she is brought back against her will following a run-in with the law. Which parent will Miri pick to die: the one she loves, or the one she hates who is working to save the world? ****************** “Calder Szewczak’s The Offset may be a literary first in giving central place to anti-natalism" David Benatar, author of Better Never to Have Been “Thrilling, terrifying and beautifully crafted, The Offset is the perfect science-fiction novel for our times. I devoured it.” – Angela Saini, author of Inferior “The Offset could do for environmentalism what Nineteen Eighty-Four did for socialism and Brave New World did for eugenics.” – Ken MacLeod, Prometheus and BSFA Award-winning author of The Corporation Wars series

30 review for The Offset

  1. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    Intriguing concept: in a dying planet the rule to combat overpopulation is that if you have a child and both parents are still alive on their 18th birthday, one must die to bring the numbers down, and the child gets to choose which. I really liked the depressingly convincing worldbuilding: the flooded, fractured, overheated planet, the stark divisions of privilege, and the bitter resentment felt by children dragged into a dying world. (Miri, the teenager, is tbh almost completely unbearable: the Intriguing concept: in a dying planet the rule to combat overpopulation is that if you have a child and both parents are still alive on their 18th birthday, one must die to bring the numbers down, and the child gets to choose which. I really liked the depressingly convincing worldbuilding: the flooded, fractured, overheated planet, the stark divisions of privilege, and the bitter resentment felt by children dragged into a dying world. (Miri, the teenager, is tbh almost completely unbearable: the absolute epitome of "I didn't ask to be born" sulking.) Very harsh, very tense, with clear, crisp writing. In present tense, as are the flashbacks, which I found a bit confusing--if you write in present surely flashbacks should happen in past tense? Or does it make more sense to have both in present if you have one? Now I don't know which I think, argh. There's a couple of *huge* unanswered question at the end--it's not listed as series so I don't know if this is intended to convey the debilitating powerlessness of the individual in the face of climate change, or if we're actually going to find out what happened!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The Offset is a disturbing yet compulsively readable first instalment in a proposed science fiction series that explores the issues of environmentalism and anti-natalism, positing a world in which, on their eighteenth birthday, every child must choose one of their parents to die as a carbon offset for their own life. Set in a near-future dystopia, those in power postulate that the earth is now so cataclysmically impacted by overpopulation and climate change that only drastic and immediate action The Offset is a disturbing yet compulsively readable first instalment in a proposed science fiction series that explores the issues of environmentalism and anti-natalism, positing a world in which, on their eighteenth birthday, every child must choose one of their parents to die as a carbon offset for their own life. Set in a near-future dystopia, those in power postulate that the earth is now so cataclysmically impacted by overpopulation and climate change that only drastic and immediate action will be able to make a difference to the situation, and even then it certainly is not guaranteed to solve the whole issue. The highly experimental project known as Project Salix is a novel concept that involves groups travelling to Greenland and planting, or reforesting it, with a plethora of genetically modified willow trees. This is what they hope will come in between humanity and its extinction. But it has also been decided that there must be action in the short term too rather than simply carrying on as normal, and this comes in the form of the Offset. The Offset is a strategy devised to limit the earth’s population as they are depleting its resources; it demands that whenever someone reaches the age of eighteen, the child must choose which of their parents to execute. The policy is basically one in one out. We are then introduced to the family we will follow for the duration of the novel as they navigate life and the tough decision that is about to befall one of them. We meet Mira Boltanski a mere couple of days from this imminent yet impossible and horrific choice. She must decide between her two mothers which of them to effectively kill. Alix is a retired paediatrician and the parent Miri knows loves her the most, and Jac is a pioneering scientist heading up Project Salix and on whom humanity depends. This is a compelling and thought-provoking cli-fi dystopia that shines a light, once again, on the important issues of climate and our finite resources. It's prophetic, incisive and addresses the social impacts of environmental break down including global warming and nuclear fallout, and the complexity and emotional dilemma at the heart of the story was absolutely gripping but also heartwrenching to me. It's a short, sharp book, but it packs a powerful (gut)punch, the writing is so, so beautifully crafted and the conceit of it all is both horrifying and fascinating. The moralising around reproduction and the intersection of anti-natalist ideas with environmentalism are also superbly fused into the plot. With some excellent, blindsiding twists, an unsettling atmosphere of pure dread and characters who are intriguing but hard to like, The Offset offers a tiny glimpse into the terrifying nature of our future. Highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nils | nilsreviewsit

    The Offset begins with an execution. Miri, our young protagonist, is caught up in the melee of the crowd making its way to watch another mother punished for commiting procreation. From the first chapter Calder Szewczak sets an oppressive, dark claustrophobic atmosphere. The crowd pressed together, the smell of urine, and the woman set in a glass cage watched on whilst pigsuits, akin to robots, strap her to an electric chair. As with many dystopias, the world is dying, the people are sick, and sc The Offset begins with an execution. Miri, our young protagonist, is caught up in the melee of the crowd making its way to watch another mother punished for commiting procreation. From the first chapter Calder Szewczak sets an oppressive, dark claustrophobic atmosphere. The crowd pressed together, the smell of urine, and the woman set in a glass cage watched on whilst pigsuits, akin to robots, strap her to an electric chair. As with many dystopias, the world is dying, the people are sick, and science has deemed the only route to saving Earth is to ban people from having children, so there's less of a drain on their dwindling resources.The level of Carbon has risen to disastrous proportions, and Project Salix, devised by Miri’s mother Jac Boltanski, may be the only way to save everyone and put a stop to the Offset executions. However Jac and her wife, Alix, have had a daughter - Miri, and now Miri is turning eighteen she must choose which of her mother’s must be executed. Unfortunately, this novel was just not for me. The tone throughout felt so dry, almost clinical, and there was very little warmth coming from any of the characters. Miri, at eighteen years old was petulant, bitter, and angry, which may fit her age, but for me personally it made her annoying and unlikeable for no particular reason. For example in one scene she throws a bowl of fruit at her mother’s head merely because she was angry at her for fussing over her. Her mother Jac was a professor, she was quite stern, often too self righteous and just didn’t come off as pleasant, we saw her show no kindness to anyone for the majority of the novel. I need some kind of aspect to like about my characters, and I failed to get that here. I also felt there was too much scientific info dumping. This is a very personal opinion, so not every reader will feel the same way as me, and if you like the sound of this, I truly hope you’ll pick it up and try it for yourself.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I received this an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Thank you also to Angry Robot! The Offset is a complex and bleak novel about choice, sacrifice, and societal worth. It’s a dystopian Cli-Fi that is also, I would argue, a bit of a literary fiction. I have to state right off the bat that the Offset itself, the concept of a child upon turning eighteen being forced to decide which of their parents must be killed to “offset” the environmental cost of their own life, is clearly no I received this an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Thank you also to Angry Robot! The Offset is a complex and bleak novel about choice, sacrifice, and societal worth. It’s a dystopian Cli-Fi that is also, I would argue, a bit of a literary fiction. I have to state right off the bat that the Offset itself, the concept of a child upon turning eighteen being forced to decide which of their parents must be killed to “offset” the environmental cost of their own life, is clearly not meant to be a realistic vision of the future but a vehicle in which to show the drastic state climate change and overpopulation have placed on the world. As such, the political aspects of this concept are not really discussed, nor are we given history as to how this measure was put into practice, nor are we told whether this is a UK measure or worldwide. In truth, something like this would never pass in anything but a totalitarian state, but the concept is fascinating and creates a rich soil in which to grow interesting ideas. This is where the literary fiction aspect comes in - the book is designed to make you think more than entertain. The book also features fluid and descriptive prose that reminded me a little of Donna Tartt, in that it’s elegiac in how it uses the physical world to evoke emotion. I very much enjoyed the bleak and harsh tone and I thought the book was the perfect length, as any longer and it would have made me depressed. I’m rather torn about the characters. I understood them while not entirely liking them. Miri is a teenager burdened with a huge and terrible responsibility - she runs away from home not only because of the preemptive guilt she must be suffering from but also because her parents are always working and one is cold and demanding. Jac is burdened with guilt over not spending enough time with her daughter while being driven by a higher purpose. Yet, I didn’t feel I got to know either of them as much as we could have. Miri’s years of homelessness are mentioned more in passing; we don’t really “get” her as much as we could have. Jac was quite easy to understand, but you also don’t like her very much. Also, aside from her profession, we don’t learn a lot about Alix either. Then again, if we loved the characters the story would have been very hard to read, almost too dark. The novel doesn’t feature much of a plot. Aside from a moment of intrigue, a great deal of the story features rather everyday life and flashbacks and takes place over the course of only two days. That being said, I was enthralled and never once did I stop wondering what the ending would be. Speaking of the ending, in my mind it could have gone one of three ways and I was leaning far more towards the outcome that occurred. That doesn’t mean I think it was too predictable - in fact, I was hoping I was wrong. Overall, this is not a happy story where we save the earth in the end. This is a warning to stop screwing around with the planet. Much like A Diary in the Age of Water (which I reviewed earlier this year) and Jeff VanderMeer’s work. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I recommend it to those who enjoy Cli-fi, those who like their books grim, and people who liked 1984.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anatl

    An electrifying debut that tackles issues of parenthood set against a dystopian future where limited resources and a dying earth necessitate a population control. The solution is a public ceremony: when a child turns 18, they have to choose one parent to execute in exchange for their life. The Offset begins its story two days before Miri's 18th birthday where she has to choose which one of her moms is going to die - Alix the dedicated doctor who gave birth to her and to whom she is more attached An electrifying debut that tackles issues of parenthood set against a dystopian future where limited resources and a dying earth necessitate a population control. The solution is a public ceremony: when a child turns 18, they have to choose one parent to execute in exchange for their life. The Offset begins its story two days before Miri's 18th birthday where she has to choose which one of her moms is going to die - Alix the dedicated doctor who gave birth to her and to whom she is more attached or Jac the famous scientist whose work aspires to save the planet by planting trees in the radioactive wasteland of Greenland. The focus of the story is on these characters, each to her own choices and dilemmas. Miri is a rebellious and petulant teenager upset with both of her mothers. She has run away from home, but is found again just before the ceremony. While Alix and Miri reconnect. Jac stumbles upon some shocking finds while inspecting her life's work that suggest some foul play. There are psychological and social ramification to the project Jac is fronting, but further exploring this issue means missing out on a critical time for her wife and child. Thank you Angry Robot and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Panatier

    I read this book ahead of publication for a potential blurb. Add it to your TBR now. Request it if you are a reviewer. Just make sure you read it. I haven't had a book hit me like this in a long while. I burnt my eyes out of my head trying to stay up late and finish it. From my blurb: The Offset crushed me. This is an expertly—and starkly—written, well-drawn eco-dystopian novel about the ultimate measure of austerity taken in order to save the planet. There’s so much that was done well here: the I read this book ahead of publication for a potential blurb. Add it to your TBR now. Request it if you are a reviewer. Just make sure you read it. I haven't had a book hit me like this in a long while. I burnt my eyes out of my head trying to stay up late and finish it. From my blurb: The Offset crushed me. This is an expertly—and starkly—written, well-drawn eco-dystopian novel about the ultimate measure of austerity taken in order to save the planet. There’s so much that was done well here: the world, the science, the societal conflict—but to get into the (possibly carnivorous) weeds would distract from soul of this book. It is a bare-knuckle punch to the heart. Calder Szewczak made me suffer—brilliantly.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth Rosser

    I hate breaking up with a book. And in this case, it's definitely a more "It's not you, it's me" situation. I tried so hard to get into this, but I'm finally going to give up at 42%. I am at the point where I'm dreading picking up my Kindle and looking for other things to do instead of read.... And I don't want that. The thing is, I think this book will have a good fan base, it's just not for me. I hate breaking up with a book. And in this case, it's definitely a more "It's not you, it's me" situation. I tried so hard to get into this, but I'm finally going to give up at 42%. I am at the point where I'm dreading picking up my Kindle and looking for other things to do instead of read.... And I don't want that. The thing is, I think this book will have a good fan base, it's just not for me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sookie

    Somewhere in future, to curb the population, Offset is established; it is when a child turns 18, they have to choose which of the two parents would die so that they can take the dead parent's place as an adult in the society. The Offset begins its story two days before Miri's 18th birthday where she has to choose which one of her moms is going to die - the one who she believes loves Miri unconditionally or the one whose work is changing the world. We tag along Miri as she navigates the obligatio Somewhere in future, to curb the population, Offset is established; it is when a child turns 18, they have to choose which of the two parents would die so that they can take the dead parent's place as an adult in the society. The Offset begins its story two days before Miri's 18th birthday where she has to choose which one of her moms is going to die - the one who she believes loves Miri unconditionally or the one whose work is changing the world. We tag along Miri as she navigates the obligation she has to herself, and to the society while dealing with inadequacies in relationships with each of her mothers. With Jac, the one who is fast tracking the world to become greener again, her relationship is tumultuous at best. With Alix, its compatible and caring. There are layers of burdens that's laid on Miri - she isn't just losing a parent, her decision can break the world in itself. The fatalistic state of this story is set from the very start yet when it happens, its really heartbreaking. A brilliant debut, indeed. Thank you Angry Robot and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anj✨

    The Offset is set in a dying world due to environmental issues and overpopulation. To remedy this, they made an agreement called "The Offset" a population control when a couple decides to have a child, that child must decide between their parents who get to die (offset). A death for a new life. The story begins with Miri, 2 days shy of turning 18, witnessing an Offset and she has to choose which of her moms are going to die for the cost of her life. Alix, a retired doctor and her beloved mother; The Offset is set in a dying world due to environmental issues and overpopulation. To remedy this, they made an agreement called "The Offset" a population control when a couple decides to have a child, that child must decide between their parents who get to die (offset). A death for a new life. The story begins with Miri, 2 days shy of turning 18, witnessing an Offset and she has to choose which of her moms are going to die for the cost of her life. Alix, a retired doctor and her beloved mother; or Jac, the famous scientist who might be humanity's savior. This was a depressing and compelling read. I really like the writing style. It's fluid and descriptive. I adore the premise and concepts. There are many instances it made me think of what I would've chosen when it was me in the same position. The Offset did an amazing job of delivering a wake-up call for some potential outcomes of global warming. I did however have difficulties connecting with the main character, Miri. Since the book is focused on her or rather her decision, it affected my enjoyment. I find her annoying and she's the usual angsty teen who has a chip on her shoulder and when she decided, sadly, I did not feel the impact due to her being estranged from her parents. Overall, this was a fascinating and quick read. It gives its readers thought-provoking questions on how would we choose to preserve humanity's survival.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John Derek

    I found myself disliking the main protagonist almost immediately. Not only did she run away from seemingly loving parents (though we don't get all details), but she insisted on rebelling against anything and everything. She was quite willing to watch a young woman be put to the Offset procedure. Basically, she came across as an obnoxious spoilt little brat. (But her parents loved her apparently). On the plus side, she did adopt a rat which came to her rescue. The rat is an escapee with a human e I found myself disliking the main protagonist almost immediately. Not only did she run away from seemingly loving parents (though we don't get all details), but she insisted on rebelling against anything and everything. She was quite willing to watch a young woman be put to the Offset procedure. Basically, she came across as an obnoxious spoilt little brat. (But her parents loved her apparently). On the plus side, she did adopt a rat which came to her rescue. The rat is an escapee with a human ear attached to it. (My favourite character in the book.) Of the other characters, Alix is definitely the more motherly of the two but stays home due to her health. Jac, on the other hand, is out there saving the planet. But the love between Alix and Jac seems as strong as ever. The Offset is a thought-provoking read, and anything climate change wise will always resonate well. Add the usual angst that man has already messed with mother nature (and she has bit back), and you have a cracking novel. With pervasive genetically modified plants and wildlife being out of hand, you have good subplots to the main story. There Were a few things I would have liked to have been added. Why were the Piguits taking just about every piece of electronic gadgetry away (motors out of fans etc.) The London Eye was explained but nothing about elsewhere. (The world does not revolve around London.) There were other things as well, such as the whole world-building scenario, but this was a Character-driven novel, so that can be forgiven. There is a lot to like about this book. The fact it is not too heavy on the tech side. Writing is crisp and clear, not over wordy. Characters were well developed and had the usual strengths and weaknesses associated with family relationships. Like I said at the beginning of my review, the only thing that let The Offset down for me was the main protagonist, Miri. Otherwise, this is an excellent and enthralling read. Thank you, NetGalley and Angry Robot, for the ADC of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)

    whew. dark but very well executed.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    A dystopia in which people need to choose a parent to kill when they turn 18, a mysterious secret behind the dying of the Earth, a teenage main character... This book had it all to catch my eye. I haven't encountered many books focusing around the environment issues, so I thought it would be cool to check it out. Unfortunately, everything was only barely scratched. The world, the characters and the plot all had tremendous potential, but it never went deep enough for me. I couldn't place the world A dystopia in which people need to choose a parent to kill when they turn 18, a mysterious secret behind the dying of the Earth, a teenage main character... This book had it all to catch my eye. I haven't encountered many books focusing around the environment issues, so I thought it would be cool to check it out. Unfortunately, everything was only barely scratched. The world, the characters and the plot all had tremendous potential, but it never went deep enough for me. I couldn't place the world the action was taking part in. How did the Earth become so bad? What happened to the people? How did we come to have the Offset? Those are all questions that are left unanswered, without even small hints of an explanation. It had me so confused that I had trouble placing the characters in the action, and therefore connecting with them. The only thing I found an interest for was the science behind the trees maintained by Miri's mom. She was the most engaging character for me! However, Miri herself was soooooooooooooooooo annoying... I just hated her, and unfortunately, most of the book is centered around her. She holds a petty grudge against her moms for some reason, and it honestly just feels too much. She's basically emo in her behavior, like "Oh no, no one can understand the darkness of my mind and the reasons of my anger'. WHY DON'T YOU JUST TALK??? Is it because I'm becoming too old to relate to teenage characters? In any case, I found her unsufferable, and couldn't stand reading about her, which is a big problem since she's the main character... I thought that in general, the book didn't provide enough information regarding the context for me to understand or care about the story. Maybe the second book will be more detailed about all those aspects, but I don't think I'm curious enough to read it when it does. It was still very readable, but not deep enough for me!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ann HC

    I've just finished The Offset and honestly, I can't stop thinking about it! It's quite a short read and I raced through it - it's so fast-paced, you just can't put it down. Everything about it feels perfectly calibrated, which is probably due to it being co-written. Even though the point about every child having to select a parent for death is so shocking, it's dealt with in a really clever way and you never feel like it's just there for the shock value. Midi is the daughter of Jac and Alix, two I've just finished The Offset and honestly, I can't stop thinking about it! It's quite a short read and I raced through it - it's so fast-paced, you just can't put it down. Everything about it feels perfectly calibrated, which is probably due to it being co-written. Even though the point about every child having to select a parent for death is so shocking, it's dealt with in a really clever way and you never feel like it's just there for the shock value. Midi is the daughter of Jac and Alix, two mothers who want to save the world but in very different ways. Miri is an angry teenager who doesn't want to have to make her Offset decision and who can't deal with the idea of becoming an adult. It's all so timeless. I particularly liked the depiction of lesbian parents and how people in the world being gay and trans was normalised. All in all a really complicated and important book. Five stars from me!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Cobbler

    I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Offset and—wow! I genuinely haven’t read a debut as strong as this since Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The core concept of the book—that every kid must choose one of their parents to die—is obviously its main thrust, but the writing absolutely blew me away. I don’t want to give too much about the plot away but I could completely see myself in both of the parents’ positions, and Miri the child’s, and the ending was totally I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of The Offset and—wow! I genuinely haven’t read a debut as strong as this since Becky Chambers' The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The core concept of the book—that every kid must choose one of their parents to die—is obviously its main thrust, but the writing absolutely blew me away. I don’t want to give too much about the plot away but I could completely see myself in both of the parents’ positions, and Miri the child’s, and the ending was totally heart-breaking. Plus the handling of anti-natalism felt really nuanced and never really came down heavily on either side (for or against), which the made the book so interesting from an environmental perspective. Made me think more about the future of the world we’re living in. Truly, a must read. Calder Szewczak is one to watch!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Bridgeman

    This is a classic race against time for a life changing decision to be made, and in  The Offset, this choice is to be made by the genetic creation, Miri, formed in a lab to combine the love of her two mothers. Using sperm created from Jac's DNA and an egg from Alix, the environmentalist scientist and consultant paediatrician have, in effect, signed a death warrant for one of them. At the start of the novel, Miri , who has been on the run for the past two years, has been found after attending a pu This is a classic race against time for a life changing decision to be made, and in  The Offset, this choice is to be made by the genetic creation, Miri, formed in a lab to combine the love of her two mothers. Using sperm created from Jac's DNA and an egg from Alix, the environmentalist scientist and consultant paediatrician have, in effect, signed a death warrant for one of them. At the start of the novel, Miri , who has been on the run for the past two years, has been found after attending a public Offset. She is 2 days away from the decision over which of her parents will die, her ascendency to adulthood marked, irretrievably, by the death of one of her parents. The problem is, who does she choose? Alix, the mother she loves, or Jac, the mother she hates? Things get more complicated when you consider that Jac has spearheaded a campaign to plant nuclear resistant trees across the entire landmass of Greenland, to counterbalance the carbon dioxide from the world wide lack of trees. So will it be the woman who gives her life, or the woman who could possibly save the world whose rising population has created a situation in which this hideous Offset ceremony has become the solution? The crime of procreation results, in the majority of cases, in the public death of the mothers. Centered in  London, the stark imagery of this ceremony is really brought home to the reader from the opening chapter, this is a brutal ceremony with changing methods of death, where the chosen parent is expected to present themself to the 'pigsuits', automated police type figures which have grown out of their function as wearable units and have taken a life of their own on. They are intensely creepy and cannibalise machines to patch themsleves and keep going. Pretty quickly, the reader and Miri realise that this balancing act is not only necessary in this dystopian future, but that is a situation which has been entirely created by human greed. The taking of the planets resources can never be remade, but the population can be controlled. As Jac travels to Albans (Scotland), to work out just what has happened to her experiments which should have had a much better effect than it currently has, Alix and Miri have the opportunity to go over the events which led to her leaving, to discuss her anti-natalist proclivities and explore, through their eyes, just what has been happening since the population became in need of controlling. The value of a life is to be decided by the child, their stepping into adulthood forever marked in bloody footsteps to 'atone' for their existence. Miri could have come across as a spoilt, entitled brat, but as you get to know her, you really empathise with the situation she has been put in. Her unresolved issues could remain forever , stubbornly stuck in time as she could decide to sacrifice Jac. But as she begins to realise that Jac's research is being sabotaged, will she support her to come to the truth on who, or what is doing this? It is a dystopian novel told with a sense of narrative detachment leaving the reader to bring their emotions to the table and apply them to the issues under consideration. Eugenics is not merely something which came about with the rise of fascism, it pre-existed this as a means of social control and when you consider that each year, the planet runs out of resources at an earlier and earlier date, decisive action does seem to be called for in order to recreate a sense of balance between environment and humanity. And it is particularly timely given the events of this week in Texas, it appears that it is even  more relevant, and terrifying, that the continuing assault on the rights of women's self determination is always predicated against the women in this situation, and not the men. The use of names verse nouns really highlights the individual, versus collective, sense of responsibility . As well as helping to frame the central characters, it lends a sense of dissonance between 'The Engineer', 'The Student', 'The Thief' and Miri, Jac and Alix. There are some truly horrible moments in this book which give you pause for thought in the way that we see, and measure, evidence of humanity and in the application of technology to carry out the Offset, and to act as a form of justice, the abdication of responsibility into the realm of machinery is even more chilling. The future use of the London Eye, a rusted  monument to vanity and 'progress' , used a nightmare prison, will definitely stay with me. As a debut novel, this is a smooth, engaging and accessible read, I would highly recommend it to those who think that science fiction is not for them, I found myself ripping through the chapters at speed, desperate to find out what was behind this social calamity and who could be the key to the solution. A highly enjoyable read, which seems odd given how disturbing it is, I am excited to see what this duo will write next!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Benedict | SFF Oasis

    I have a SFF blog at sffoasis.co.uk and if you order from thebrokenbinding.co.uk you can use the code BLURB5 on everything for a discount. Feel free to join The Oasis discord too - link on the blog. The Offset is a new book that will really make you think about the world and then brings you back to reality with a unhealthy dose of realism that is as equally fun as it is a revelation. The Offset is actually the name of a forced ceremony if you like, a choice you have to make on your 18th birthday. I have a SFF blog at sffoasis.co.uk and if you order from thebrokenbinding.co.uk you can use the code BLURB5 on everything for a discount. Feel free to join The Oasis discord too - link on the blog. The Offset is a new book that will really make you think about the world and then brings you back to reality with a unhealthy dose of realism that is as equally fun as it is a revelation. The Offset is actually the name of a forced ceremony if you like, a choice you have to make on your 18th birthday. Which parent do you want to die? It’s become normal for children in Calder Szewczak’s story to go through this when they reach adulthood as there are, simply put, too many humans on Earth now and sacrifice of one means survival for all. Breed fewer. Breed better. I was really excited when Angry Robot gave me this book because one thing I love is dystopian stories. They really get your head thinking in ways that other books in the SFF genre don’t. This particular story follows 17 year old Miri who is days away from her own 18th birthday and her Offset. She has not been in contact with her parents, Jac Boltanski and Alix Ford, both female, for a couple of years and knows that she is going to have to head back home and make a decision. You see there is a whole dynamic around the Offset. If one parent dies before the Offset, then the survivor is pardoned for their crime of procreation. This means that if one parent decides to kill the other one they can survive so there is almost this battle between the parents the nearer it gets to their child’s eighteenth birthday. There are examples of this in the story that open questions in your mind – one man suspects his wife fell pregnant and tries to cut out her womb. I really liked the dynamic of it in this world, as scary as it is, because humans really aren’t that far away from a bleak future like this and this story, which inadvertently highlights it, makes you think. To light a candle is to cast a shadow. Her Mum, Jac, is essentially the saviour of the human race. She is the great mind behind Project Salix which is based in Inbhir Nis (Inverness) and from it trees have been planted in the frozen tundras of the Arctic to help produce more oxygen and restore the planet’s atmosphere. There was an accident previously that turned the Arctic into a nuclear wasteland but the project has helped create trees that can grow on that large piece of untouched land thus helping to balance out the planet. Her other Mum, Alix, used to be a medical doctor in a London hospital but retired a few years ago and generally stays at home in their four floor house in London. It’s important to note here that Jac and Alix have crafted a good life and this is a life of privilege that Miri has been created into. Miri sees that the rest of the population are sprawling among one another looking for food, medicine and just trying to survive as her story with us begins. Places in London have been recycled such as The London Eye which is now referred to as The Eye and is a prison. Those large glass pods filled with prisoners waiting for their trial, execution or deportation. Rickshaws replace cars and normal life as we know it has gone. It’s pretty grim compared to how London is now. “And it will happen sooner rather than later. Maybe only a few years from now. We’ll burn up in the heat and suffocate on the carbon.” The story is split into chapters that are either focused on Miri or Jac primarily. Personally I found Miri the more interesting character until the last 20% of the book when I wanted to know much more about what Jac was up to. Miri starts our story by witnessing someone else’s Offset. This immediately pulls you into this world like through a portal. She is trying to use that to desensitize herself to what she has coming in a matter of days, imagining that her mum, Jac, is the one dying so that her preferred parent Alix can survive. Miri herself is a young woman who doesn’t know what she wants. She is confused and has to weigh up her options before her decision but the only people she can ask for help want her to choose differently. Her story quickly sees her reunited with mum Alix but it is a frosty reception that Alix receives from her wayward daughter who she hasn’t seen in two years. Jac’s chapters are more science based and fans of The Martian will absolutely love her. She is meticulous, calculating, ruthless with decisions, intelligent and the saviour of the human race. She sees that there is a problem with Project Salix and a day before her daughter’s Offset she has to travel to Inbhir Nis to try and rectify the issue. Something has gone wrong and the atmosphere is changing. She doesn’t know why but if she can’t fix it this could spell out the end for the human race and her girls. “It’s always the way. The mother takes the punishment, even though the crime is not of her making alone.” The character development in this story is very grey. What I mean by that is that the three main characters are brought to life but everything around them is not. This has been done on purpose. For example, there are robotic guards called Pigsuits. No-one is inside them as far as we can tell but they are menacing. Not quite as large or terrifying as a Big Daddy from Bioshock (computer game) but they have the same effect. Panic. Fear. Worry. There are some supporting characters in the book too but it’s clever – we don’t get their names. On purpose too. The Archivist, The Engineer, The Thief. They have these titles which I think stops you getting so attached to them and really keeps the focus on Miri and her impending choice. For an absurd moment she feels like a helium balloon limply grasped in a child’s hand, ready to slip loose and float away on the breeze. Flashbacks occur in the story and normally I prefer to stay in the present but I found these flashbacks useful as they gave us little nuggets on information, emotion and context into what was a very jagged story. They helped me to understand how relationships and opinions had been formed, or altered, by previous encounters and situations. Rating – 4/5 You see the whole time you read this book, the question in the back of your head is who is Miri going to choose. I won’t spoil it for you but honestly when I got to the end I legitimately said aloud “Ah, f*ck”. It’s so much more than an ending, it’s a punch to the gut. I would say that this is a Science Fiction Dystopian novel. I have seen some reviews saying there is too much science but for me I didn’t think that. I found it enough for me to try and understand the seriousness of the situation and the weight behind Miri’s choice. I loved the dynamic and found it as scary as it was refreshing. A really well thought out idea crafted with the intention of making you think. This is a must read for fans of The Martian and anyone who has enjoyed any dystopian stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Wylie

    Received an ARC from Netgally in exchange for an honest review. This book. From the opening sequence I was hooked, The writing is wonderful and fast paced. There is natural worldbuilding to the eco-dystopian future that feels true to the story and not forced. What I appreciated about the book was the humanity in its characters. Dr. Jac Boltanski was my favorite character, she is utterly selfless in her work and professional life but selfish in her personal life. There is a juxtaposition between do Received an ARC from Netgally in exchange for an honest review. This book. From the opening sequence I was hooked, The writing is wonderful and fast paced. There is natural worldbuilding to the eco-dystopian future that feels true to the story and not forced. What I appreciated about the book was the humanity in its characters. Dr. Jac Boltanski was my favorite character, she is utterly selfless in her work and professional life but selfish in her personal life. There is a juxtaposition between doing good and being good that I really liked. At times I did not agree with her choices. This elevated the complexity of her character which was really well done and interesting to read. Miri the main protagonist is hard and at times unlikable (in a good way) while navigating through the choice of having to choose a parent that dies, the one she loves or the one who is working to save the world. She is 18 and immature with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her choices and feelings are natural to forcing a developing person to make an unimaginable decision. The graphic aspects of the book were used in a way that solidified the world the characters live in and amplified the gravity of the situation. It was done with intent and did not overhaul the story and what the authors were trying to say. Overall it is an impactful emotional rollercoaster of a story

  18. 5 out of 5

    Donna Bull

    Wow!! What a story this is and I think it should be required reading for anyone who doesn't think climate change is a big deal. This story presents a world in complete chaos from the rapid warming from climate change and the resulting societal collapse is frightening. The resulting food shortages, collapse of industry and mass deaths have led to a law that requires any new birth to be offset by a death. When the child reaches the age of 18, the child chooses which parent is to die, and this is t Wow!! What a story this is and I think it should be required reading for anyone who doesn't think climate change is a big deal. This story presents a world in complete chaos from the rapid warming from climate change and the resulting societal collapse is frightening. The resulting food shortages, collapse of industry and mass deaths have led to a law that requires any new birth to be offset by a death. When the child reaches the age of 18, the child chooses which parent is to die, and this is the means to control world population and give the rest of humanity a chance to survive. The story follows Miri who is 2 days from her 18th birthday and choosing which of her mother's is to die. She has previously left home and thinks she knows exactly what she will do but events happen that may change everything. Her mom Jac is one of the most important scientists on the planet trying to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and reduce the potential heating of the earth. Her other mom Alix is a nurse. Just before the offset is to happen, Jac discovers there is something very odd going on with her forest experiment in Greenland and the consequences may doom humanity. This novel really does do a phenomenal job of conveying what some potential consequences of climate change are and it is sobering. The reality that some of these changes are possibly not in the too distant future should be a wake up call to everyone that we need to make systemic changes now or it will be too late. Highly recommend this to any science fiction fans!! ARC provided by Angry Robot books and NetGalley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Chi Lough

    In humanity’s desperate attempt to control overpopulation and stifle procreation, a drastic policy called The Offset is implemented. On this dying planet, having a child requires the greatest sacrifice and their child must live with the heaviest burden. Upon their eighteenth birthday, the child alone must decide which parent must be executed. Perhaps containing more truth than fiction, The Offset by Calder Szewczak is a science-fiction novel for our era. The Offset by Calder Szewczak presents a d In humanity’s desperate attempt to control overpopulation and stifle procreation, a drastic policy called The Offset is implemented. On this dying planet, having a child requires the greatest sacrifice and their child must live with the heaviest burden. Upon their eighteenth birthday, the child alone must decide which parent must be executed. Perhaps containing more truth than fiction, The Offset by Calder Szewczak is a science-fiction novel for our era. The Offset by Calder Szewczak presents a dystopian world turned apocalyptic. Throughout the novel, we are gradually informed of why the world is near uninhabitable. I became almost morbidly fascinated. I had to know what happened. My curiosity had me quickly turning its pages. How could everything turn out so…wrong? To my horror, it was not one single event, but a sequence. Events that sound too familiar to what Earth faces now. The Offset is eerily like the book Nineteen Eighty-Four for conservation. Calder Szewczak blatantly showcases the disastrous impacts an unhealthy world has on society. Political polarization has manifested within the most intimate facet of the human experience. With the fate of the world so uncertain, can having a child truly be considered an act of love? Anti-natalism, the ethical view that humans should sustain from procreating, has become a prominent ideology. For some, giving birth is not only selfish but sinful. Undertaking the offset is not only necessary for survival, it is an act of atonement. In many ways, The Offset is a stark forecast of our future. While its message is worldly, The Offset follows the narrative of one family. Miri is nearing her eighteenth birthday and must decide which of her parents, Jac or Alix, will be offset. Calder Szewczak did a brilliant job with all three characters. Their vastly different and powerful perspectives are equally presented. Miri’s strong anti-natalism viewpoints and resentment contrasts sharply with her parents’ undeniable love for their daughter. I found myself switching back and forth between whom I identified with most. I couldn’t categorize their thoughts as right or wrong. I only felt each of their pain. The Offset is a powerful novel from duo writers Natasha Calder and Emma Szewczak. While not needlessly violent, it is a tense read with zero reservations. Its unrelenting somberness became infectious and carries past the last page. This book introduces many questions and left more unanswered. What will become of this world? What happens to Miri? Our own future likely holds those answers. Review now live in Grimdark Magazine https://www.grimdarkmagazine.com/the-...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I do a lot of freelance proofreading for a variety of publishers but I rarely list those on Goodreads because I consider them to be work rather than reading, and also if I were to list them all I might be less favourable towards some titles which would be wholly unprofessional of me. Suffice to say, I've decided to only list books which I believe I would have sought out and enjoyed independently of 'work'. Preamble over, "The Offset" is one of those books which falls into the above category. Set I do a lot of freelance proofreading for a variety of publishers but I rarely list those on Goodreads because I consider them to be work rather than reading, and also if I were to list them all I might be less favourable towards some titles which would be wholly unprofessional of me. Suffice to say, I've decided to only list books which I believe I would have sought out and enjoyed independently of 'work'. Preamble over, "The Offset" is one of those books which falls into the above category. Set many years into the future where a combination of global warming and nuclear incidents have created a barely sustainable society, those who choose to have a child must undertake the Offset on the child's 18th birthday. Basically, it's a one-in, one-out scenario. The newly-adult child has to make a decision - which they have always been aware of - as to which of their parents has to die - by official hand - on that birthday. The parents are also aware of this prior to giving birth, so it is an accepted process and a decision they have made: the cost (penalty?) of creating new life in a world which cannot sustain over-population and must have measures to avoid it. In this instance, the moral complexity is heightened because Miri's parents both have roles where saving lives have been part of their jobs. One mother worked at a hospital, the other is instrumental in creating a programme designed to stabilise the Earth. However, Miri has always seen the latter parent's dedication to that role as time-abandonment of her personally, and hates her as a result. Miri is a particularly unlikeable main character, a stroppy selfish teenager who cannot see the wider picture. Being unlikeable is the novel's strength, of course, it would be a lesser book without that friction. I won't give away more of the plot other than to say that in the few days left before Miri's 18th she has to make a decision over which parent must die, a decision which may not just affect her life, but also that of the planet. The book is well-written with a clarity of purpose. The Offset itself doesn't come across as a plot gimmick, but as a logical process which could be adopted under the circumstances that the book describes. The dilemma feels believeable, and the ending contains a sweet sting that satisfied this reader. Definitely one to seek out on publication day!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth G

    Loved this book, straight from reading the premise I knew it was right up my street and it did not fail to disappoint. The characters were complex and I never really knew where I stood with anyone (in a good way) and I loved the unpredictability of the women, and the fact that I wasn't spoonfed at any point. Plus the LGBTQ+ representation was just perfect, it wasn't a *thing*, the people were just a meaningful and natural part of the world - no big deal. All in all this book is perfect for anyon Loved this book, straight from reading the premise I knew it was right up my street and it did not fail to disappoint. The characters were complex and I never really knew where I stood with anyone (in a good way) and I loved the unpredictability of the women, and the fact that I wasn't spoonfed at any point. Plus the LGBTQ+ representation was just perfect, it wasn't a *thing*, the people were just a meaningful and natural part of the world - no big deal. All in all this book is perfect for anyone wanting to read a genuinely layered and nuanced feminist cli-fi, and for anyone who wants to engage with the question what does it mean to have children in a dying world? 5/5 ARC copy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gemma Creffield

    I was hooked from the blurb and knew I was going to love it. And I did. I love clever, ambiguous narratives and The Offset is exactly that. The ending is particularly fantastic.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cassidee Lanstra

    Angry Robot always introduces me to the most unique novels, and The Offset is not the exception. No joke, this novel is brilliant, dark, and frightening. It was one of the hardest books I’ve had to rate recently. Do I rate solely on brilliance or my overall experience reading it? I’ll break down my thoughts! Well, to start off, the premise is absolutely terrifying. Your parents are ALLOWED to “breed” but they must understand there’s a consequence: one of them WILL die on your 18th birthday. Could Angry Robot always introduces me to the most unique novels, and The Offset is not the exception. No joke, this novel is brilliant, dark, and frightening. It was one of the hardest books I’ve had to rate recently. Do I rate solely on brilliance or my overall experience reading it? I’ll break down my thoughts! Well, to start off, the premise is absolutely terrifying. Your parents are ALLOWED to “breed” but they must understand there’s a consequence: one of them WILL die on your 18th birthday. Could you bring children into the world knowing this? How would you feel as a child knowing that your parents subjected you to this traumatic event? Could you sacrifice the parent that you love more if it meant that the parent capable of saving the planet might live? Hats off to Calder Szewczak for the nightmare-inducing plot. I won’t lie, as a parent, I’ve wondered if we are bringing our kids into a doomed world with the way humanity and climate change are progressing, even though things are not as far gone as they are in The Offset. This book will not ease your mind any there, but it will make you more conscious of the world around you. “Miri shakes her head in quiet disbelief. She is never going to have a child; she is never going to do to another living being what her parents have done to her. They knowingly condemned her to life on a dying planet in full knowledge of what that would mean and the hardships she would have to face.” The Offset was completely devour-able, I took the whole book down in a short amount of time and felt that it flowed very well. I’ll admit, for how much I love the SFF and dystopian genres, I am not very well versed in the deeper realm of scientific terms. There were moments that I glazed over because they felt like scientific info-dumbs, but I won’t pretend like a smarter person than me might not be phased by this! Miri is a petulant but aware teenager, and following her journey is interesting. I was hanging on to see which parent she sacrificed at the end. I found the way she cared for her lab rat endearing, but I will say that I couldn’t stomach the needless animal cruelty at one point. The way Miri was just accepting of this cruelty was a bit odd to me, too. Putting a trigger warning for a moment with a cigarette that turned my stomach. Honestly, the malicious treatment of an animal is always gonna knock a book down a few points in my book. That’s just a personal “can’t do” for me. I can handle animal death, an animal hurt in a battle, or an event unrelated to cruelty (though I’ll still be sad), but deliberately hurting an animal is something else. This is a very dark and depressing book, but it’s really well written, intelligent, and thought-provoking. It races towards a climatic ending that will leave you disturbed and stunned long after you’ve read it. You can rest assured that The Offset will leave its mark on you. Thank you to Angry Robot for having me along on this blog tour!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fernanda Granzotto

    *Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy of this book for review, all opinions are my own* 2.5 stars I knew next to nothing about this book when I started reading it and I think it was for the best. I'm still kind of confused about this book, as it's not bad it just left me confused in how I feel about the story. Here we have our world in the future, we have a dystopia where the world is literally ending and having children is a crime that if you commit the penal *Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an early copy of this book for review, all opinions are my own* 2.5 stars I knew next to nothing about this book when I started reading it and I think it was for the best. I'm still kind of confused about this book, as it's not bad it just left me confused in how I feel about the story. Here we have our world in the future, we have a dystopia where the world is literally ending and having children is a crime that if you commit the penalty it's death. Some things I didn't like about this story, the author's writing, and the way that even begin our world I found it a bit confusing to understand how we ended up in the moment of the story, another thing that helped my confusion was the fact that book have many technical and scientific terms, half of the book I didn't understand because of that, even more taking in consideration that english is not my first language. As I said the book is not bad, but I don't recommend it if you have very strong opinions about having children or not,so if this topic is a trigger for you maybe don't read this book because touches a lot on this subject, which I liked. The ending of the book didn't make me like it either, I thought the ending was kind of open, it seemed to me that either it was missing some pages or that the author intended to write more, because I had the feeling that the story wanted to end in an abrupt and shocking way but for me it didn't work!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mar

    (Content warnings: death, public execution, animal cruelty/death, medical content/trauma) Gah, what an intense book. It follows Jac, the leading scientist working on the one project that may bring the world back from the brink of certain death, her runaway daughter Miri, who despises her and holds Jac's life in her hands, and Jac's wife, Alix, desperate to save Jac (and, consequently, her work) - at the price of her own life. The writing is very vivid and visceral, the attention to small details (Content warnings: death, public execution, animal cruelty/death, medical content/trauma) Gah, what an intense book. It follows Jac, the leading scientist working on the one project that may bring the world back from the brink of certain death, her runaway daughter Miri, who despises her and holds Jac's life in her hands, and Jac's wife, Alix, desperate to save Jac (and, consequently, her work) - at the price of her own life. The writing is very vivid and visceral, the attention to small details in things like worldbuilding and descriptions makes it feel palpable, the way that the fate of the world and the strained family dynamic are intertwined is super fascinating. Miri's chapters gave me a little of that "10s dystopian YA starring rebel teen girl" vibe at first, but that's not the kind of book this is; it's not YA, first of all, and then there's the fact that both her mothers are main characters, as well. There's something really neat about a dystopian sci-fi book where 2 of the main characters are a married lesbian couple and the third one is their child and the fact that they're lesbians isn't really brought up, there's no homophobia or anything. Like, yes, stories where non-straight characters' sexualities are significant and relevant to the story are also important, but it's nice to read a book every now and then where it's just not made into a Thing and they just get to exist the same way a straight couple would, you know? Anyway. All three of them are the kind of character I really like that's not *likeable*, necessarily, but GOD, are they compelling - I love a complex female character who you don't exactly like/relate to/agree with, but you do feel for them, get their thought process, find them captivating. Jac's like that, especially. My main issue with the book is that I found the ending too abrupt; it ends on a strong note, but I think the story would've felt more complete if it went on for a couple chapters longer - it's not difficult to guess where it goes from there, but I would've liked to actually see it. I was certainly hoping for a reunion between Jac and Miri. I do also have some qualms with some aspects of the premise of the book, especially how it presents overpopulation and global warming (for instance, how it felt as if the blame was placed equally on all of humanity, without acknowledging the leading role of corporations and rich capitalists), but I'm not going to nitpick the worldbuilding that is more implied than stated, anyway. And while I wasn't convinced by the idea of the Offset as a tool for battling overpopulation, the Offset as a *cultural phenomenon* I found much more compelling, if incredibly grim. The idea of such vehement anti-natalism arising as the main philosophy in a world that has been completely used up and ruined by humanity is... painfully believable. It might be a weird comparison, but something about this book kind of reminded me of Fahrenheit-451 in that "bleak dystopian vision that feels extreme and all too real at the same time" way? This the kind of book that I'd absolutely LOVE to discuss in a book club or write a too-long essay about for English class or something. (Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Shocking, brutal, and just straight up WTF-worthy. But all in the best way possible. ❎ ꜱᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ . ᴍᴇᴀɴꜱ . ꜱᴀᴄʀɪꜰɪᴄᴇ ❎ This book paints a bleak picture of future earth where children, on their 18th birthday, must choose which of their parents should be executed to offset the environmental cost of their own life. I mean, just the premise of the story itself is a thrust-punch to the gut, but the stark imagery, the humanization of the characters, and the wistfully mournful prose really make this a stri Shocking, brutal, and just straight up WTF-worthy. But all in the best way possible. ❎ ꜱᴜʀᴠɪᴠᴀʟ . ᴍᴇᴀɴꜱ . ꜱᴀᴄʀɪꜰɪᴄᴇ ❎ This book paints a bleak picture of future earth where children, on their 18th birthday, must choose which of their parents should be executed to offset the environmental cost of their own life. I mean, just the premise of the story itself is a thrust-punch to the gut, but the stark imagery, the humanization of the characters, and the wistfully mournful prose really make this a striking, gutting, incredible read. Though it proposes a (hopefully) unlikely future, it’s massively sobering to think about what the consequences of climate change will really bring.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Reid Edwards

    The Offset is a well written, eerily plausible dystopian future novel that just didn't manage to grab me as much as I had hoped from the beginning. It's very well written, the characters feel accurate to their setting and situations, but I just didn't connect as much as I had hoped. Definitely worth reading; hopefully the authors aren't prescient. The Offset is a well written, eerily plausible dystopian future novel that just didn't manage to grab me as much as I had hoped from the beginning. It's very well written, the characters feel accurate to their setting and situations, but I just didn't connect as much as I had hoped. Definitely worth reading; hopefully the authors aren't prescient.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    What a debut, what a story subject. A brilliant twist on China's one-child law. It also reminded me of a movie in the sixties where they killed anyone o ce they turned thirty. Great characters. Read this in a couple of days. Highly recommend. What a debut, what a story subject. A brilliant twist on China's one-child law. It also reminded me of a movie in the sixties where they killed anyone o ce they turned thirty. Great characters. Read this in a couple of days. Highly recommend.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Heather Barnett

    The Offset is an intelligent, tightly plotted novel which forces you to consider how much of its dystopian world could become reality, if we continue to abuse our planet. Despite the harrowing themes, its pared-back, elegant prose makes it a pleasure to read. I think this would make a great book club read because there are so many topics to unpick.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Graham Bloomfield

    A remarkable debut. The Offset does for environmentalism what The Island of Doctor Moreau did for vivisection.

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