Naked Captalism is one of my favorite sites, both for its radical political commentary and the vigorous discussions that follow from it; now, John Siman has posted a review of my latest book, Radicalized, which collects four intensely political science fiction stories about our present day and near future.
Siman’s review frames Radicalized as a critique of neoliberalism, which is just right: from the story Unauthorized Bread, about the use of DRM-locked appliances to make the lives of refugees in subsidized housing miserable, to the title story Radicalized, which supposes that men who watch their loved ones die slowly after they’re denied treatment by their insurers might start murdering health insurance execs and the politicians they’ve purchased, and that if the men doing the killing are white and respectable enough, America might not immediately brand them as terrorists.
And the proof of the devil’s active existence in the Neoliberal USA is in the details, which Doctorow gets right in a way that is enrapturing in its precision: Here is the alluring beauty that arises from staring squarely at and studying what is most abhorrent.
The reigning devil is, of course, the Neoliberal dispensation by which the USA has been consumed for going on four decades now, in whose workshop the country has been purposefully divided into an oligarchy consisting of the billionaires and their Creative Class, hipsterocratic lieutenants on the one hand, and the lumpen deplorables and the immigrants of ambiguous documentation and the vestigial middle class and the poor of many colors on the other.
And Doctorow sees all this — or at least describes it — better than just about anybody.