TWENTY THIRTY-FOUR by Wilson White

TWENTY THIRTY-FOUR

A Novel About the Future
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fifty years after 1984, a conservatives’ paradise finally gets totalitarianism right in this smug, dotty utopian fable.

New York City, circa 2034, lies prostrate before the forces of political correctness. Bankrupted by “Negro reparations” and hamstrung by a “Female Equality Legislation Measure,” the city has suspended emergency services and faces daily blackouts and soaring crime rates while the Oxbergers, Jewish owners of the New York Times, call for tolerance and understanding. When his Oxberger wife is raped and murdered by black men, humble oncologist Leonard Little inherits some Times voting stock and migrates to Dallas, capital of the breakaway Texas quasi-republic of Lodestar, a libertarian business haven and no-nonsense surveillance state. Unions are illegal, taxes are low, schools, hospitals and utilities have been privatized, companies are free to discriminate and college admissions are openly biased in favor of alumni donations and straight white males, statistically proven to return the greatest “LifeAchieve.” Meanwhile, a two-strikes-and-you’re-dead justice system quashes crime, citizens are monitored with “Geo-Locator[s]” and smokers are sentenced to re-education camps. Clean, safe and upscale, Dallas has no dystopian downside, the worst menace being a clownishly bigoted mayor whose excesses are reined in by enlightened LodeStar plutocrats. As Leonard becomes embroiled in a tedious scheme to bring the Times to Dallas, the narrative offers a plea for the rich to stop loathing themselves and reorder society to their satisfaction. White (Ernest, 2003) presents an unconvincing satirical extrapolation of today’s culture wars. His vision of urban apocalypse–minorities run amok, coddled by liberal elites–feels dated, and his fantasy of running the Times (in one scene, columnist Maureen Dowd, imagined as a truculent black woman, is brusquely fired) seems like a breakfast-table rant. And what’s to explain the random photos of Brazilian bathing beauties, except a trip to Rio by Leonard and his girlfriend?

This self-indulgent right-wing reverie should have remained a private daydream.

Pub Date: July 18th, 2005
ISBN: 1-4134-9309-2
Program: Kirkus Indie
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