Book Review – Splinterlands by John Feffer

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Splinterlands by John Feffer is a dystopian novel set in 2050. Julian West is writing a report updating events of the world since his book Splinterlands was published in 2020 before the Great Undoing, the global collapse of economies around the world. Julian, sick and old, visits his children Aurora, Gordon and Benjamin via virtual reality. He witnesses the damage to the world he had predicted in his book, the careless lack of empathy from those who’d profited off of the world’s demise, and his younger son’s battle for what he believes in. Finally, he visits his ex-wife who lives in a commune and attempts to draw her into a rejuvenation project until he realizes it has all been a ruse – the report and the reason for the treatment.

What I love about this novel is that not only do you get to see this dystopian world through West’s eyes, but there is also an unnamed editor who leaves footnotes in West’s report that clues you in on different aspects of West’s life and those around him. It is a clever writing technique.

Feffer’s book is a reminder of what can and is happening in the world today. Globally, we are on a precipice of decline. The upper 1% keeps getting wealthier and the lower 99% has little hope. His novel is an all too real, bleak glimpse into our own future.

Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Refugee Road (Freedom Fighters #1) by Nikki Landis

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Refugee Road is the first book in the Freedom Fighters series, set in an alternate history of a war torn United States. Lizzie lost everything in the war – her mother, sister and her best friend. Now she is a refugee, fighting along side a small band of freedom fighters, led by a man named Darren who is not only the leader, but a vengeful, dangerous man. Along the way, you meet Mal who is like a big brother to Lizzie and Alec, a man she met once before the war and who becomes Lizzie’s whole world. Alec is a member of the militia, the sworn enemy of the refugees.

What I love most about this book is how rich the characters are. Landis has created characters so believable that you cannot help but care about them, even her villains, Darren and Donnovan (who is only a villain for a short while). As much as you want to cheer for Lizzie, Alec and Mal, you also want to see them defeat Darren and Donnovan.

Landis has also done an excellent job with settings. Her descriptions put you right there in each scene, in the cold and dark, shivering in the mud, or warm and safe in a temporary shelter. There is one terrifying scene that she does exceptionally well – when Lizzie is beaten.

I will confess, I do not generally read romances. What set this one apart is the alternate history and dystopia nature of the story. The romantic scenes in the story are sweet in nature. A bit overly mushy, but told in a gentle manner. If you enjoy sweet romances, you will definitely enjoy this one.

My only criticism for this story is that while it began with a lot of action and suspense, it did slack off in the middle. This is probably just my own reaction since I do not read a lot of romances because all the romance happened in the middle. By then end of the book, the action did pick up again.

The last scene in the book is definitely a lead-in to the next book in the series titled Midnight Surrender, which I will now have to read to see how Lizzie gets out of that situation.

I am not going to rate this story negatively just because of the slow, romantic part in the middle. As I said, I don’t normally read romances, so for me, it was slow. For others though, it might actually be the best part of the story.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Alternate History/Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance

To Purchase: Amazon

#BookPromo – Splinterlands by John Feffer

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About the Book

Julian West, looking backwards from 2050, tries to understand why the world and his family have fallen apart.

Part Field Notes from a Catastrophe, part 1984, part World War Z, John Feffer’s striking new dystopian novel, takes us deep into the battered, shattered world of 2050. The European Union has broken apart. Multiethnic great powers like Russia and China have shriveled. America’s global military footprint has virtually disappeared and the United States remains united in name only. Nationalism has proven the century’s most enduring force as ever-rising global temperatures have supercharged each-against-all competition and conflict among the now 300-plus members of an increasingly feeble United Nations.

As he navigates the world of 2050, Julian West offers a roadmap for the path we’re already on, a chronicle of impending disaster, and a faint light of hope. He may be humanity’s last best chance to explain how the world unraveled—if he can survive the savage beauty of the Splinterlands.

Part of the Dispatch Books series

To Purchase:  Haymarket Books – 50% off Paperback and ebook | Amazon – 39% off Paperback


Reviews

“In a chilling, thoughtful, and intuitive warning, foreign policy analyst Feffer (Crusade 2.0) takes today’s woes of a politically fragmented, warming Earth and amplifies them into future catastrophe. Looking back from his hospital bed in 2050, octogenarian geo-paleontologist Julian West contemplates his fractured world and estranged family. West is writing the follow-up to his bestselling 2020 monograph, Splinterlands, in which he analyzes the disintegrated international community. By 2050, the refugee-saturated European Union has collapsed; the countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China have splintered; and Washington, D.C., is gone, destroyed by Hurricane Donald in 2022. There are water wars, imitation foods made from seaweed, inequality, disease, and sleeper terrorists. On a virtual reality trip to make amends, West visits his children—professor Aurora in a deteriorating Brussels rampant with kidnappings; wealthy opportunist Gordon in Xinjiang, no longer part of China; and freedom fighter Benjamin in prosperous Botswana. His ex-wife, Rachel, lives in a commune in a snowless Vermont, now a farming paradise. Lending credibility to his predictions, Feffer includes footnotes from West’s editor written around 2058. This novel is not for the emotionally squeamish or optimistic; Feffer’s confident recitation of world collapse is terrifyingly plausible, a short but encompassing look at world tragedy. ”
Publisher Weekly, Starred Review

“Feffer’s book is a wild ride through a bleak future, casting a harsh, thought-provoking light on that future’s modern-day roots.”
—Foreword Reviews

“John Feffer is our 21st-century Jack London, and, like the latter’s Iron Heel, Splinterlands is a vivid, suspenseful warning about the ultimate incompatibility between capitalism and human survival.”
—Mike Davis

Splinterlands paints a startling portrait of a post-apocalyptic tomorrow that is fast becoming a reality today. Fast-paced, yet strangely haunting, Feffer’s latest novel looks back from 2050 on the disintegration of world order told through the story of one broken family– and offers a disturbing vision of what might await us all if we don’t act quickly.”
—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickle and Dimed and Living with a Wild God, and founder of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project

“A chilling portrayal of where the politics of division could take us. Now I only hope he writes the sequel to tell us how to avoid it!”
—Naomi Oreskes, co-author of The Collapse of Western Civilization


About the Author

unnamed-2John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy in Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies. In 2012–2013, he was also an Open Society Fellow looking at the transformations that have taken place in Eastern Europe since 1989. He is the author of several books and numerous articles. He has also produced six plays, including three one-man shows, and published a novel.

John Feffer’s Website |Facebook | Twitter