- Author: C.D. Hulen
- On-Sale Now
- Synopsis: Hulen explores the abortion debate through the lens of a space-story novella.
I began seeing Facebook ads for Abort several months ago, I believe because I follow various pro-life / abolitionist pages. More recently, I encountered the title in my friend-circle on GoodReads. Seeing the positive reviews the book was receiving, I reached out to author C.D. Hulen, who kindly sent me a review copy.
Wow! Artful and brilliant, this is a book I’d definitely recommend. Like Hannibal’s The Paris Betrayal, this was a book that took me awhile to “get into,” but then blew my mind!
I would describe the book as more “philosophy-driven” than “plot-driven.” I find the novel made its biggest impression on me at the end of the book. Since finishing, I have been reflecting a lot more on what I read. In contrast, with most books that I read, I am most invested while reading, unless specific themes stand out (or I just “miss” a character).
Scriptural Connection / Spiritual Themes
So God created mankind in His own image,Gen. 1:27
in the image of God he created them;
male and female He created them.
Human dignity is a HUGE theme in Abort. Redemption, forgiveness, and surrender also have their place. While there is some Christian content (which was beautiful), I don’t think the amount of spiritual content would deter a non-Christian from enjoying the narrative.
Why Abort Stands–Out
This book stands out to me because it is a work of fiction that deals with the philosophical arguments for and against abortion, through allegory. Most of the literature I have encountered on the topic of abortion is argumentative nonfiction (by which I mean “philosophy,” which would generally fall under the nonfiction umbrella— whether true or not). In the cases where I do find fiction that addresses abortion, the storyline usually revolves around an unexpected pregnancy.
Hulen’s work differs, because of the symbolic nature of his work. Abortion (a term that is conspicuously absent from the story) is represented by the removal of “cargo” from a state of suspended animation.
Subtlety, Symbolism & Storyline
I really appreciated Hulen’s subtlety, throughout. I was expecting an overt parallel, with Hulen making statements about how our present cultural climate contributed to the making of the “present” of the book. (The book’s setting is almost entirely independent of our world. While there are references to earth, the book is set entirely in space, with flashback references to earth, as well as two fictional planets.)
In fact, despite the familiarity of the arguments, I feel that the symbolism did an excellent job of veiling the meaning. (“Let he who has ears…”). I would be interested to see how my interpretation of the plotline would have been different, had the book been given a different title. In my opinion, the title “Abort” is definitely an eye-catcher for the pro-life/abolitionist communities. However, I think that with a different title, the book may draw in an unsuspecting pro-choice reader. Given that the title is the only overt reference to abortion, I think a different title would provoke thought, without evoking pre-conceived notions or raising the reader’s hackles.
I also very much enjoyed the nonlinear timeline, which interspersed scenes from the past with Mason’s present experiences on the ship. This lent an air of mystery to the plotline, as there is a lot of build-up establishing the occurrences that led Mason to where he is now.
In addition to the main abortion metaphor, there’s also a really neat chess motif woven throughout. I was really impressed with this detail, which seemed incidental throughout most of the story, but then took on more obvious significance, near the end. It makes me want to revisit the chess scenes to examine the build-up.
Although I didn’t plan it this way, I’m posting this review on my birthday :). This is significant, not just because (obviously) I was, in fact, born, but because I was an “unplanned” pregnancy. While my mom would never have considered abortion, I came at a very surprising and difficult time. And my mom, before me, was even more unexpected. As it turns out,my mom was the result of an affair (which we only learned a few years ago) so we are VERY GLAD that she is here and was not aborted. So, aside from my general opposition to abortion, I have a personal motivation for backing the movement— and it is such a blessing for me to be able to post about this particular book on my birthday!
I would recommend this for young adults and up, not because of any “inappropriate” content, but because of the nature theme and because of the symbolism. I think a slightly older reader would be better equipped to appreciate/interact with the themes presented.