Review: 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America
2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
So many good plot devices, wasted on such weak characters! "Near future" science-fiction is a risky setting for any writer because so much of that future has arrived between the first draft and publication. It's likely to appeal to a wider audience, however, more like mainstream fiction because it's easy to imagine a world only 20 or 30 years into the future, and Brooks got lucky with only a few events happening in the real world that change how the reader sees his story. The central theme, "be careful what you wish for" in the guise of curing cancer, it very intriguing. The earthquake that flattens Los Angeles is written purely from the POV a native, in that the rest of the country almost ceases to exist once that happens. It's when you get to the characters, whether it be back story, arc, or even simply the dialog that the book becomes flat and boring. Flawed characters are interesting only if there flaws are interesting - Brooks' character are so run of the mill in their motivations that you knew everything about them as soon as they were introduced, in no small part because Brooks tells you everything about them. They don't grow, they don't change in ways that you couldn't predict long before it happens, they're warm bodies to fill out empty spaces between some decent exposition.
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