In a very recognizable dystopian near-future, a man confronts an unthinkable catastrophe.
In McCord's debut novel, the current events of the morning newspaper have been morphed and extended into a future that seems all too likely: devastation wrought on the American coastal range by massive hurricanes, violently divisive politicians, devastating new plagues and widening social stratification. McCord’s satire teeters hilariously on the border of the absurd, characterized in the person of Texas governor Lawrence Bowie (anointed by the Real American Party), an outsized parody of any number of recent American politicians. “Do facts matter?” he asks at one point. “Of course they don’t, especially when they contain seeds of moocher political agendas. Facts are for girly-men and do-gooders who care about such trivial distinctions.” The archnemesis of Bowie and the RAP is incumbent president Burt Octavian, an “illegitimate president who is a Black Muslim plant that suckled at the breasts of terrorists and has resurrected the Black Panther Party to kill law-abiding white patriots.” The book’s main character, television producer James Bravtart, is entangled in the escalating violence of this warped future in which political parties elevate Atlas Shrugged to a religion and TV networks reap riotous ratings with shows like Foreclosure Justice, The Real Homeless of Malibu Beach, and the show of the title, The Execution Channel, on which public executions are broadcast 24 hours a day. The book’s headlong farce bogs down in its third act when the Rand-ian musings tend to get too much stage time, but even this doesn’t much blunt the fierce intelligence behind the story. And The Execution Channel’s meteoric success (and the success of sister programs like Final Justice Live) brings the whole narrative back into focus and plays in the background of the book’s many thriller-style plotlines. And rollicking through the whole thing is Gov. Bowie, making outrageous quips to the press and constantly invoking the wisdom “Mama Bowie” handed down to him as a boy.
A pointed and very funny mockery of our current cynical age.