THE UNDERSIRABLES by Mary C. Smith

THE UNDERSIRABLES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Social science-fiction from an American-born, now Nigeria-resident writer whose only other novel was published in Colombia. By the year 2120 the world is ordered by the tune-in-and-vote People’s TV Assembly and its rotating chairmen: Mallam Ahmed of the South, Comrade Wong of the East, and Mr. Brown of the North; in reality, of course, the Global Administration manipulates voting behavior to produce any desired result. Most people live comfortable, safe, affluent lives; only the Undesirables, or UDs—criminals, political dissidents, the mentally ill, cultists, and their children, all forcibly sterilized according to eugenic principles—live in rotting ghettos with only the most primitive of services and provide cheap menial labor. Like most others, the successful speechwriter and compulsive philanderer Mark Grimal barely notices the UDs until he seduces his office assistant, Christie Riccardi, falls in love, and becomes aware of the appalling circumstances of her blameless life. Lisa, Mark’s trophy-style wife, finds out about the affair and threatens to inform Security Chief Jake Danzig, and by ignoring her, Mark begins to accumulate powerful enemies. Christie is beaten and raped and, despite all Mark’s efforts, dies. He vows to avenge her by changing the world, but he knows that if he makes too many more waves he’ll be tortured and brainwashed. Somehow, he must create a revolution from among his friends, co-workers, the UDs, and the women whose company he obsessively seeks. Refreshing, memorable treatment of a standard-issue ethical dilemma: an engrossing and beautifully rendered US debut.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1998
ISBN: 0-930773-47-0
Page count: 358pp
Publisher: Black Heron
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1998