DAD'S NUKE by Marc Laidlaw


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Another near-future dystopia (cf. Pfeil, below), this one with satirical, comic overtones that get lost in generally tedious rather than amusing complications. The US is divided into independent, heavily defended neighborhoods; Cobblestone Hill is a planned, self-sufficient community, dreamed up and secretly controlled by the mysterious Doc Edison; here ""Dad"" Johnson struggles to raise his oddball family and defend his house against potentially hostile neighbors. Among the odd goings-on: Dad's psychotic neighbor across the street, Jock Smith, is building a guided missile from a kit in his backyard (Dad sabotages it). To defy Jock, Dad then installs a nuclear reactor in his garage. The family's new baby, grown in an incubator, tums out to be a living processor of nuclear waste. Nobody works, but the men indulge in group computer-fantasies as a substitute. Dad's son P.J., discovering that he's been programmed to be gay (as part of Doc Edison's notions of a ""balanced family""), flees the enclave, only to be captured, drugged, and brainwashed by Christian Soldiers. Finally, Dad's wife Connie runs off with a salesman from the ubiquitous Cartel; a bunch of Doc Edison clones show up, all quite mad; the Christian Soldiers attempt a computerized invasion; and the feud between Dad and Jock Smith comes to a head. A workmanlike performance, mostly unfunny, deft in its portrayal of family interactions: sometimes diverting but more often depressing.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1985
Publisher: Donald Fine