The collection contains two stories: The Darwin Act, set in a world where medical care is no longer available to those who are judged to have been injured by their own stupidity; and, The Hotline, set in a world where people can anonymously recommend that a government sponsored euthanasia clinic offer their services to another.
Both stories begin with a brief explanation of the legal mechanisms, but in each case Lee gives only enough to give the reader a framework to understand the world set within natural dialogue; this permits the focus to remain on the characters not the nuances of the law. While each story deals with culling the population, the subtle difference between influencing people to take better care and influencing them to cease being a burden produces two very different stories with almost opposing themes.
The portrayal of major characters skilfully falls into two different categories: the protagonists are fully realised and described and face issues as personal and immediate dilemmas, whereas those whose lives they assess are rendered with broader, less sympathetic strokes. This contrast forces the reader to face how easy it is to disregard the lives of those we do not know or care for.
I really enjoyed this collection. I would recommend it both to readers who like character-driven short stories and those who like moral questions.
I received a free copy from the author without obligation.