YOZONE: Towards a better place elsewhere

Under a cover that does not bode well with its wall, its desert, its drones and its red sky, Johan Heliot gives us a good youthful expectation, much in line with current concerns.

The world is devastated by ecological disasters. Immersed from the first page of the justice system, crushing rebels or troublemakers “bad citizens”, we discover him during Maya and Max’s escape: around the old capital, with a district reserved for the very rich, stretching smaller and less well-equipped peripheral areas . to the dry, polluted desert. Security is not necessarily guaranteed, survival happens by all means, human trafficking is spreading. Maya understands once her decision is made that her life before was not the worst.

The path that awaits her is strewn with danger, for her little brother and for her. Committed to negotiating with Tarkus, the young head of the border, she escapes a first attempted rape before escaping with the help of a small taxi-scooter driver. In the desert, the journey is also dangerous, and they will meet conscientious dice smugglers, escape the mafia that holds the wires under the wall …

But Maya’s best chance is Arno. They met before the judge, but the boy, robust and inventive, therefore accepted this pact: his mistake is erased instead of his brain, and he is offered an even better future if he traces the fugitives. With a few journalists and two other volunteers, state-of-the-art equipment, they are on the hunt, crossing Tarkus’ convoy, determined to take revenge for the humiliation Maya has inflicted.

But because he dislikes his friends, nor the thought of chasing poor people, and despite the sword of Damocles that Justin weighs over his head, Arno lets Maya slip away before betraying his group. , shortly after. Condemning oneself to a short-lived death, yes, but determined to die to do something good for others.

I will not describe to you all the adventures: Johan Heliot has taken advantage of decades of post-apo, “Mad Max” in mind, to pave this odyssey with the worst ordeals that will make the youngest shudder. I would rather insist on the very good elements of expectation that it gives young people to read:
YOZONE: Towards a better place elsewhere an ultra-secure, highly hierarchical, oppressive, dehumanized society that reminded me of the excellent film “Time Out” byAndrew Nicol, among other. Maya knows that her father, a former activist, has been silenced, just as they will “treat” her to stand up to authority figures at her high school.
YOZONE: Towards a better place elsewhere a story of forced migration. Like the unfortunate people fleeing war or persecution in their countries, Africa or Eastern Europe, Maya must flee if she wants to live. The author tumbles on history by making Africa, today the world’s survivor, forgotten by the struggles against famine or epidemics, the new Eden, the land of life and freedom. But on their way, the migrants will find a wall, erected by France-Sud to protect themselves from the influx. Much louder and impassable than the one trump had it built to “protect” the United States from Mexican migrants. The author does not dwell on its construction, nor does he leave obscure the sequence of events that have led the world to this stage. It must be accepted and admitted.

Maya and Max therefore meet smugglers, and we see that their escape is only one among dozens, and that a dishonest organization has joined forces to take advantage of what has at all times solved the refugees and threatened to let them die. in the desert otherwise. Throughout the novel, even in the absence of futuristic dangers, the author makes us feel fear, ubiquitous death.

The worst thing for Maya is the separation. she has promised to take care of Max and she does not hesitate to sacrifice herself several times to let her little brother be saved. If we were not in a novel, she would probably have been killed several times, tortured, raped …

The narrative, in the present and in the first person, alternates between Maya and Arno, allowing us, in parallel with the escape, to follow the beginning of this program that we presented to the young man. We find there the SF elements, which here too smell good of the nauseating delusions of today’s conservatives and racists: to give the illusion of a legal framework to a demonstration procedure to avoid excesses, to avoid individual initiatives and the paramilitary militias whose excesses and crimes would end up having harmful effects, even evoking a perception that we would have done anything to stay compliant. We discover, in the second part of the trip, that the richest, refugees in Switzerland, clear their conscience by sending daily humanitarian material. There is again, in the space of the novel and the internal narrative, no room for detail nor to quarrel over a few small inconsistencies, but once again the purpose of the text is not there. The author also introduces nuances, his characters with rare exceptions are ambivalent, and those who suffer from Maya’s legitimate bile, smugglers, smugglers, respond to him that they are a lesser evil, that without them the refugees would die without hope. the Mediterranean coast. Something that makes readers think about the question of acceptable crimes or not.

And raise awareness of what is already happening every day, without this SF varnish.

An easy-to-read novel, very gripping but violent, without gloves, like the world that sadly awaits them.


Title: On the way to a better place
Author: Johan Heliot
Cover over : Aline office
Publisher: Limit value
Collection: Youth
Website : romance site (publisher site)
Pages: 273
Size (in cm): 20.5x14x2
Statutory deposit: March 2022
ISBN: 9791023512540
Price: € 14


Leave a Comment