While “Distraction” describes large parts of my life, this time around, I’m writing about Bruce Sterling’s book of the same name.
Last week, I wanted to grab a book for the trip to Tucson, and Distraction was near at hand. And the back cover blurb was intriguing: “It’s November 2044, an election year, and the state of the Union is a farce….” — especially since I knew the Iowa caucuses were going to be a significant event during the trip. And 544 pages promised enough reading matter to get me through the trip, which was another point in the book’s favor. So I took it along with me — and spent the outbound flights doing crossword puzzles.
But eventually, I actually opened the book and was hooked almost immediately, as the not-quite-human protagonist, Oscar Valparaiso, reviews video of the Worchester May Day Riot of ’42 (which isn’t a riot) on the campaign bus (which is actually taking Oscar and his krewe on a post-election “vacation”), which is stopped by a roadblock where the US Air Force is shaking down motorists for money to keep an air base open.
And then things got strange.
It’s definitely a political story, with a new Huey, Governor of Louisiana, in rebellion against the Federal Government (or what remains of it); it’s also a love story, with Oscar and Greta a most mismatched pair; and it’s a science story, with plausible pseudo-science rather than pure bafflegab. It doesn’t all hang together completely, but it’s doable. And worth the read.