2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

sit down, my children, and let me larn you up on the world. for the entire book. because you’re never going to get out of infodump territory, nay, not even unto the end of the book.

it’s a tough dilemma for people writing future (or very historical) fiction: how do you world-build? how do you get across so much information, some of it fascinating, some of it mundane but necessary, without turning your novel into a lecture? Brooks didn’t even try not to lecture us. once past the first 50 pages, the book becomes a looooong lecture with a few events thrown in.

to service the plot, Brooks trots out a large cast of characters who briefly threaten to become 3D and then retreat into cardboard cutouts. by the end of the book pretty much nobody even gets any dialogue any more; Brooks just tells us what they’re thinking and moves on, perfunctorily wrapping up the loose ends. well, some of them.

the end of this book is something i’ve don’t recall seeing in any other fictional work: a book that the author himself was so obviously sick of, that he just threw some it-is-to-be-hoped relevant words on the paper and walked away. the conclusion of this book is the single clumsiest i have ever, ever read. what on earth were the editors thinking? does publishing have any editors any more?

so, ya. read it if you want to be lectured for a few hundred pages and then have the author tell you to fuck off and leave him alone.

oh, and ps. the disaffected young call the greedy geezers “olds.” yep, you read that right. if you know anybody under the age of 25 who could not come up with a 500% more cutting and witty epithet, it is only because that person has been lobotomized.