by Denise R. Stephenson


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Isolation by Denise R. Stephenson

Isolation depicts a bleak but recognizable future in which the fear of contagion reaches a fever pitch as a bacterial epidemic catapults the US into an apocalyptic crisis.

Touch is outlawed. Mothers like Maggie bind their infants' hands, terrified they might slip fingers into mouths. Gary, a Sterilizer, uses robots to scour the infected, avoiding all contact with human flesh. Trevor, the Chief Enforcer, watches, eager to report any and all infractions.

One inadvertent touch will change all of their lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626527607
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc.
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Pages: 396
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

DENISE R. STEPHENSON resides in Oceanside, CA, but she has lived in all the remote locales of her first novel, Isolation. Staying inside of boxes, forms, and genres has never been her strength. She's published over 20 academic articles and book chapters, many of which stray from traditional conventions. As a member of Attention Deficit Drama, she has written and produced monologs and short plays. She hopes to one day see on stage, Hibakusha, her most recent play about nuclear disasters. Stephenson is a book artist as well as a writer and has shown her letterpress book What She Said in several national shows.Website: Oceanside, CAPlace of birth: Fort Dodge, IADate of birth: November 15, 1960Education: BA, University of Northern Iowa, 1983; PhD, University of New Mexico, 1996

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Isolation 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephenson's visionary tale of how a bacterial outbreak eventually erodes the entire social structure, forcing families to retreat to their homes, lock the doors, and never leave their houses, is told through four principal characters: Maggie, who must take more and more extreme measures to try to protect her young son from the bacterial pandemic; Gary, whose job it is to sterilize individuals who might have come into contact with the bacteria; a retired professor, who recalls life before all the governmental restrictions caused by the epidemic; and Trevor, hired by the new government agency charged with enforcing all the restrictions—against touching your face, touching others, and eventually leaving your house. Stephenson's dystopia is at once frightening and tender, evoking our fears of unknown diseases and our human impulses to care for those who've been afflicted. She makes it all seem so plausible, so real, and nearly inevitable. A brilliant book, a great read.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A medical and political thriller all rolled up in one tight book.  Broken into three different sections with the first being the onset of the "disease", the second being the government trying to figure out the plan to control the "disease" and the final part is the community living with the actions that were taken.  I loved the clear distinctions in the book and the feel were each unique and added to that part in time in this world.   I am not a huge medical fan, but the dystopian esque feel of the book combined with politics and humanity were spot on.  The medical/disease wasn't so scientific which helped!  I appreciated the author swirling all the elements together and she made quite the book.  
lauralovesreviewingLT More than 1 year ago
Imagine not being able to touch yourself or others for fear of punishment. Imagine a world where so many have died from bacterial infection that it’s now a law, strongly enforced, of no touching of any kind. We already see signs of this in some countries. People going out in public wearing face masks and gloves. Sanitizer stations in business entryways. The author approaches this clinically and emotionally. I couldn’t imagine not being able to kiss my babies face, hug a friend, or even wipe the tears from my own face. For those born before the outbreaks, old habits die hard. It’s a slip of the mind to reach up and scratch your nose if it itches, and if you are spotted, you’re reported and punished. Enforcers and Sterilizers are recruited and put in place supposedly for your own protection. This is where big brother thinks they know what’s best for everyone. And putting fear into the equation makes most people go along with their mandate. But there are some who feel differently. Who secretly break the rules. Who dare to want more. I don’t read reviews for a book until after mine has been published, but I’m betting a lot of people have said the same thing. This could happen and it might not be too far off. How often do you turn on the news and hear about this or that food product being pulled from the shelves because it’s contaminated? How people have sickened from it and even died? The author approached this scenario with a dystopian and science fiction genre. At least that’s how it felt to me. While I didn’t have a favorite character, there was one I wish had chosen a different employment, and three I wish could have prevailed together. The ending is deeply moving. Profound. I enjoyed this glimpse into a possible future and highly recommend it. I received this book for my honest review.
Shareen More than 1 year ago
I don’t usually read dystopias—real life can be hard enough. I made an exception with Denise Stephenson’s Isolation, and so should you. As much social commentary as it is a work of fiction, Isolation is smart, insightful, and sure to provoke thought. Isolation chronicles first the devastation wreaked on the US population by food-borne illness and contagion, then the destruction caused by totalitarian government intervention to curb the spread of disease. The book is divided into three sections: first comes the dispersal of disease and death, revealed in disparate stories that mirror the random tragedies that decimate the population. The second part, interrupted perhaps too often by numerous newspaper articles, chronicles a cultural devolution as the government imposes stricter and stricter rules, and the fear of getting caught in an infraction—something as simple as touching one’s face—overtakes the fear of disease. The third and final section follows four characters, all of whom we’ve met earlier, in their tenuous and dangerous connections with each other as they try to navigate the confines of the new world order. I admit it was hard to keep reading after so many of the characters introduced early on in the novel were extinguished—Stephenson is Hitchcock-esque in killing characters just as we’re becoming attached. But I was fascinated by this world where germophobia suffocates human interaction, even the relationship between mother and child, between lovers, between individuals and their bodies. Stephenson turns an analytical eye to the absurdities of our current obsessions with cleanliness and Americans’ neurotic fear of their food. In Isolation, people are infected with more than staph or e-coli, but with a fear as debilitating and eventually as deadly as disease. But we are not left without some hope. In the end, it is not only panic that rules behavior, but also longing for connection. It is that longing that overrides fear and moves some to rebellion, however small. It is that same longing that keeps the reader turning the page to see how one might disrupt the Isolation.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Imagine a world where just the touch of someone could quite literally kill you. In fact the spread of contaminants and bacteria are spiraling so out of control that physical touch is banned. To prevent the spread of bacteria, you are not allowed to touch your face at all. What has become a habit is now against the law. A new motto is in effect, "Habits learned early are habits for life." In fact the world's population is now spiraling out of control as government agencies like the CDC and Homeland Security are trying to figure out just how to control the spread of bacteria like Ecoli and others that are killing people faster than 48 hours. Suddenly bans on everything is becoming the norm as they try to isolate the sources and causes for so many wide spread deaths on a global scale. Antibacterials or AB's are now sought after in great supplies along with sanitary supplies like bleach and antibiotics. People are now becoming obsessive in their attempts to stay alive and even companies like AgriBiz have been trying to find safe food products and have worked to genetically modify things like wheat and corn to increase supply while trying to fight diseases. The common cold, allergies, and other respiratory infections all become dangerous beyond discomfort. People, even close relatives, would shy away from an afflicted person. It was impossible to know what was causing an illness, and the illness caused symptoms that became shunned. A kind of stoning occurred when infected individuals ventured out in public with an audible cough. You could have called it a beating - it would have sounded more contemporary, less ancient - but the fact was no one wanted to touch an infected person. So throwing things - bricks, chunks of concrete, anything you found that was heavy and safe to pick up, though not garbage, obviously - at someone who coughed or sneezed was a safe way to eliminate a contaminating source, who happened to be a person, a person who ignited your deepest fear, the fear that a cold could kill you. After that, people with colds quarantined themselves, sought medical attention and called in sick. It was that or face the wrath of the terrorized public. So foods became unsafe, first fresh vegetables and fruits, then pork, chicken and beef until all sources of those products were completely destroyed in an effect to contain whatever was killing people. Pretty soon the only thing that remained was government surplus products that were divided as an allotment based on your age and weight. Soon the government took things further creating groups designed to specifically looking for offenders to the bans and arrest or contain them as needed. Pretty soon even the population was controlled in an effort to stop the spread of the deadly bacteria, but were they killing themselves in the process? I received Isolation by Denise R. Stephenson compliments of Virtual Authors Blog Tours and Mill City Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions are strictly my own. Based on where we are headed with the recent introductions of GMO's into our food supply, what Denise has written could very well be a chilling future look at where we as a country might be headed. The controversy over the use of GMO's, overuse of antibacterial products and immunity of antibiotics are chilling to see the results of this played out over time. While this novel is science fiction, it could quite possibly give us insight into our own apocalyptic future. I'd rate this novel a 4 out of 5 stars based on my personal rating scale, which includes some profanity and sexual content.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago