The Declaration by Gemma Malley

If the chance to live forever came with a price, would you opt in or out?

It depends on the price, of course. In this book, the price is “no children.” The world’s resources are stretched to the limit in providing for all of the people who “opt in” to take Longevity, a drug that prolongs life indefinitely. There’s no room and there are no resources for children. Children who are born illegally to parents who have signed The Declaration, agreeing not to reproduce, are called Surpluses, and they have no rights, not even a right to life.

Anna is a Surplus. She doesn’t even have a surname, just Surplus Anna. Her purpose in life, if Surpluses can even have a purpose, is to learn to serve Legals, to become a Valuable Asset doing housework, yardwork, and and any other services that Legals disdain but need to have performed. She must serve in order to pay back society and Mother Nature for the unfortunate accident of her birth, for the drain she is on the Earth and its legal inhabitants.

The story reminded me of both P.D. James’s Children of Men (Semicolon review here) and of Margaret Peterson Haddix’s series that begins with Among the Hidden (Semicolon review here). I think these books constitute a fascinating sub-genre of dystopian novels with the theme of a world without children, or a world where certain children are illegal and unwanted. The fascination, for me, lies partly in the fact that these novels are deeply pro-life. In The Declaration, the “good guys” say things like “every life is valuable” and “there is no such thing as a Surplus.” In Children of Men, a world without any children is a dying world full of desperate people looking for meaning and finding none. In Among the Hidden the Shadow Children are, again, shown to be worthy people with a right to live and with gifts that the world needs. I think it’s encouraging to see a pro-life message like this embedded in popular, well-written fiction.

Do you know of other novels that would fit into this list?

Dystopian Novels With Pro-Life Themes

1. Children of Men by P.D. James

2. Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

3. The Declaration by Gemma Malley

4. Unwind by Neal Shusterman. (I found this one with a google search and added it to my TBR list. The description is intriguing.)

There’s a sequel to The Declaration, called The Resistance, coming out in September, 2008.

Oh, I found this list while googling, too: Gemma Malley’s top10 Dystopian Novels for Teenagers

20 thoughts on “The Declaration by Gemma Malley

  1. Unwind is so so so good. I definitely recommend it. 🙂

  2. I recently read Unwind and highly recommend it. I keep meaning to get around to a review, but…

  3. If people take the pill that prolongs life indefinitely and have children, how can the Earth can nourish and even contain such a number of people, which never will stop to grow? Does the book explain that?

    To be concerned about overpopulation doesnt’t mean to despise human life. If we learn to use contraception, the world population will stop to grow and people will live better. We don’t need more children, but more for our children.

  4. I hope that the people of the world will soon understand that it is bettere to have less babies and live better and longer. If we understand that, every new baby will live longer and better too.

    Gemma Malley seems to prefer a world where people have a lot of babies and whose life is short.

  5. best book ive ever readdd

  6. kt

    hey just want to say to the person who published this blog that the sequel to The Declaration isn’t called The Resistance it is called Longevity+.
    Well that’s what is says on the official site at least. Just wanted to set that straight.
    love the book and my opinion is gemma malley is right, we should have babies and live shorter lives.

  7. kt

    is the sequel called Longevity+ or The Resistance? Because i’ve read that the sequel is called both and i need to know which is correct!

  8. Bubzy

    im 15 dont ask what caught my attention to this book maybe the pretty cover i dont know, but personally it was great i think we have a right to have babies they are part of the human existance who are we to say when people can and cant have babies we have a right to live here and so does any other living thing. A baby is an amazing thing im 15 and i know that we we’re once ment to live forever before we inherited sin so we cannot say weither we should or not live forever i loved this book. It gave me a completly different out look on the way people see things..
    we cannot say babies shouldnt be born because they should like in the book it said they are the future it’s true they are and anyone who doesnt think so is one silly person. 🙂

  9. This made me think of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, except it’s not really a YA book.

  10. S

    Ive read the sequel to The Declaration. Its called The Resistance. Its is really good. Im not sure if I like it or The Resistance better they’re both really good. Totally recomend both of them.

  11. Jimmypie

    mildareveno you obviously haven’t read the book and I suggest you do, because its ignorant to sound so against something you know nothing about. Because yes, the book covers all the details. In fact the reason people aren’t having babies is because the worlds resources are running out, for everyone.

    Its not about not having babies or about having babies, its set around a bunch of seriously sadistic, selfish and predjudice people. Those seriously sadistic, selfish and predjudice people being us, because of how she carefully set the time line.

    They don’t despise human life, but instead don’t consider the children born to be human or deserve to live. Everyone is selfish and concerned about resources running out because they will be the ones living forever.

    This book is a message to us. For anyone who doesn’t jsut read fiction novels, it has been said that our generation, I quote, “May be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than the generation before them, and may be the first generation to live forever.”

    This isn’t just fiction, REAL LIFE technology is advanced enough that they predict to stop old age within our lifetime.

    Gemma Malley is trying to send a message out to make sure we don’t end up like this, like sick sadistic selfish bastards.

    I reccomend the book, its a wonderful satire that I fear can come true,

  12. For Jimmypie:

    I’ve asked “Does the book explain that?”, so I am not pretending I’ve read the book.

    Anyway, my question was wrong: Gemma Malley knows that if we lived forever there would be no place for new children.

    You wrote “Its not about not having babies or about having babies”.

    That is your very personal opinion. In this blog’s review of the book there is this sentence:

    “I think it?s encouraging to see a pro-life message like this embedded in popular, well-written fiction”

    Here is an interview to the author:

    Gemma Malley seems to think that to live a long life is a bad thing. I don’t agree.

    I think she sends the wrong message in the wrong time. If the world is overpopulated to have less babies is a good thing. It is better that humanity have less babies than a shorter life.

    The future she depicts is utterly unrealistic. The world faces food, water, energy and environment problems, so human life doesn’t risk to become infinite; on the contrary, it risks to become very short.

  13. I agree with the “good guys” who “say things like ‘every life is valuable’ and ‘there is no such thing as a Surplus'” but if human life became infinite, those good guys would be forced to say to the old people “stop taking that pill and die”.

    Anyway it is an unrealistic future which can be good for entertaining people, but it removes us from real problems. In many desperate places of the world people bitterly laughed if someone described them the plot of this book.

  14. kt wrote:

    “love the book and my opinion is gemma malley is right, we should have babies and live shorter lives”.

    In Africa people have a lot of children and live a short life.

  15. All choices must be respected, but I think it is wiser to adopt an existing baby than to “create” a new one.

    The idea that who don’t have babies is selfish is absurd.

    Excuse me for the many comments.

  16. ye lim

    woah~~ i think you are awesome cool writer!!!

  17. ye lim

    I really liked this book!!! Also “The resistance” is really great book!! That was written as same author of “the Declaration” (And also you need to read Hunger Games, series of seekers and warriors and hush hush which is cool book as the declaration!! 🙂

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