Red Queen: The Substrate Wars 1
Red Queen is a story about the yearning for freedom and agency in a world dominated by bureaucrats and propagandists. The world of Red Queen is just a decade or two away, and looks very much like the world we live in, just a few steps worse. In the tradition of Heinlein's If This Goes On--, I have extrapolated from current trends and imagined the politics that result. The authoritarian tendencies we see in modern western states will probably be reversed at some point--but what if they just keep getting worse? This is especially true of the US, with its 9/11-justified surveillance and interception of every citizen's email and message metadata, and a penal-industrial complex that imprisons about one in three black men at some point in their lives, often for victimless crimes like drug possession. A more serious terrorist incident might lead to even more restrictions on freedom and privacy. And that's where Red Queen begins.
Plot/Idea: 3 out of 10
Originality: 3 out of 10
Prose: 2 out of 10
Character/Execution: 3 out of 10
Overall: 2.75 out of 10
In Kinnison's pedestrian, near-future science-fiction thriller, Justin Smith and his colleagues at a California college struggle to save freedom even as a tyrannical government plots to appropriate their work on artificial life simulations. The novel is undermined by Kinnison's prose and his urge to insert lectures into the story. Still, Kinnison's didactic portrayal of a security-obsessed, politically correct, authoritarian United States will appeal to readers with libertarian leanings.
Date Submitted: June 01, 2016