Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Penultimate Truth

Most of the world now lives underground. They think there is a devastating nuclear war going on above the earth. They see videos of Detroit being destroyed and of their brave leader reporting on need for increased production. However, the war actually ended a decade ago, and the people above the surface are living a posh life, with plenty of robots to help them out.
There are conflicts going on up there, with people trying to get more power. One guy from "down low" attempts to go up to get an artificial organ to extend somebody's life and steps in the middle of things. There is also some limited time travel, with an attempt to set "alien artifacts" in the distant past accidentally helping an American Indian to extend his life from then to the present day. Eventually some people die and the people below are told the war is over and that they can go back up. We hear the story of a "spin writer" longing to craft some rationale for what happened and make it sound good.
The fake war is an interesting idea. However, the conflict here gets confusing. I had trouble keeping track of who didn't like who and why they were doing things. Maybe that's why this hasn't been made into a movie - yet. (Though it is used for the title for a movie about the author.)


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