The impact of dystopian fiction is sometimes weakened because of "scifi" aspects (think of the movie versions of "V for Vendetta" or "Logan's Run"). There is little of that in the "Enemies" trilogy, and the result is that the novels strike close to home - sometimes too close! Here's a review (titled "One character's plight...") I posted on Amazon on February 4th of last year.
Matthew Bracken's "Enemy" trilogy is well written, but I am attaching this review to the third installment, "Foreign Enemies and Traitors" because of one particular scene...
There is a character named Doug who describes how his university tuition was tripled as a means of coercing him to join the military. The same thing happen to me in 1984 in Ohio. Unlike that character, I resisted, and left the university. However, the fact that an event like this was mentioned at all literally brought tears to my eyes - and that doesn't happen often!
Politicians of both parties, though they have their (staged) disagreements, like to pretend that we're all one big happy country. We're not, but the way they maintain this illusion is by marginalizing and ignoring those who question authority, demand accountability, and care about individual rights. Over the course of the trilogy, Bracken presents how this marginalization and "sweeping under the rug" occurs, and what the consequences not only could be, but actually are.
I'm not sure the power of that particular scene would have on somebody who hasn't been in that character's position, but it was certainly quite moving for me.Two of Matt's other books, "Castigo Cay" and "The Bracken Anthology" will be available on the 16th. I've not read "Castigo Cay", but the anthology is a mixture of short stories and essays, mostly essays, that are worth reading. One of the essays, "When the Music Stops", describes a scenario that starts when the back-end to the EBT card (food stamp) system goes off-line for an extended period of time. This essay was written in September 2012, over a year before the EBT system really did crash; many of the consequences predicted in that essay didn't occur - but the system was offline for only a few hours. Prescient, no?
Here's a link to Matt's author page on Amazon.
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