Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Biittner's Book Review: Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America by Robert Charles Wilson

Our 2014 book club is off to an excellent start! I really enjoyed our first book - an interesting science fiction piece with a historic/western/biographical feel. It is the account of the best friend of the President of the United States in the 22nd century outlining his perspective on the President's rise to power and position. North America has essentially reverted back to the days of the wild west/colonization and war is ongoing with a form of unified Europe. The government is essentially a monarchy, which lends to an interesting rebuilding scenario post-collapse or post-post-apocalypse. There is the expected commentary on social hierarchies and class structures with some neat digs at the separation (or lack there of) between church and state and approved religious practices. I think one could read much more into some of the political, social, and religious commentary that is dominant throughout the first half of the book but I just enjoyed reading it without analyzing it. The plot really isn't that complicated or innovative (that's not to say it isn't interesting because it does capture and hold attention) but rather it is how the story is told that makes it so engaging, that keeps you reading to see how everything will unfold. The main character is naive but that is why telling the story from his perspective works, and some of the best parts of the story are when his naivety is clearly pointed out by one of the other characters while he remains oblivious. I loved the nods to Darwin and Darwinian evolution (to say any more would not spoil anything other than some of the charm of the post-collapse setting). I'd highly recommend this book, especially to a sci-fi fan, as it was an enjoyable read. 

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