Book - 2016
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Part Field Notes from a Catastrophe, part 1984, part World War Z, John Feffer's striking new dystopian novel takes us deep into the battered, shattered world of 2050. The European Union has broken apart. Multiethnic great powers like Russia and China have shriveled. America's global military footprint has virtually disappeared and the United States remains united in name only. Nationalism has proven the century's most enduring force as ever-rising global temperatures have supercharged each-against-all competition and conflict among the now 300-plus members of an increasingly feeble United Nations. As he navigates the world of 2050, Julian West offers a roadmap for the path we're already on, a chronicle of impending disaster, and a faint light of hope. He may be humanity's last best chance to explain how the world unraveled--if he can survive the savage beauty of the Splinterlands.
Publisher: Chicago, Illinois : Haymarket Books, 2016
ISBN: 9781608467242
Branch Call Number: FICTION Feffer, John
Characteristics: 151 pages ; 19 cm
Alternative Title: Splinter lands


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Mar 27, 2019

Previous commenter scottwill got this one right. It's primarily a somewhat tedious political polemic in the guise of a novel. It does, however, set the stage for its considerably better sequel, "Frostlands."

Feb 18, 2019

The cover of this wispy booklet actually says <i>"SPLINTERLANDS / A NOVEL</i>," in much the way the movie / TV series <i>Fargo</i> opens by telling you it is a true story. This is a polemic essay of (at best) novella length, riding on a thin science fiction plot line. The author is an apparatchik of the Institute for Policy Studies, a DC think tank where 60's radicals have gone to age into peaceful cooperation with the global new world order. Published in 2016, it must have been finished just about the time Trump was capturing the nomination, as "Hurricane Donald" is an actual weather event that destroys Washington, DC! Baldly put, the thesis is that racist nationalism (a la Trump, Brexit, Myanmar) and wealth inequality will cause the splintering of centrally-planned, redistributionist multi-ethnic nations, resulting in micro-wars, the spread of terrorism and, absent the mechanisms necessary to tighten the average guy's belt, unabated climate change, completing the world's destruction. Just how this works out on a case by case basis, as revealed through the protagonist's avatar visits to his progeny abroad, as well as <i>lengthly</i> exposition, may delight policy wonks, but those looking for a credible and enjoyable science fiction tale will be disappointed. Near-future SF risks becoming a parody of itself within a decade of its publication, and less than three years out, this one already sports a number of howlers, as well as unforced errors such as techno-novelties (travel by avatar, life-extension) which are barely worked out and exist more to enable a parallel between the protagonist's broken family and a broken world, than to plausibly interact with that world. If you're going to drink this kool-aid, do it soon, as the shelf life is just about passed.

Jan 14, 2017

A geo-political fiction told through the eyes of an author tracking down his family around 2050. The narrator, an academic known for writing a book of the same name, traverses the globe digitally to seek out his ex-wife and children. As we follow his path, we see the political, economic and ecological changes that have occurred. These changes range from technologically interesting (VR becomes the standard for convenient communication, similar to how texting and social media are today), to dystopian (widespread economic collapse, ecological disasters and political balkanization). A really good read if you enjoy speculative future fiction.


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