Sundra Glassgarden is trapped in a world she desperately wants to change. Archie London trawls the city for secrets. Set in a dystopian future and 1970s New York, Demolition Night is a novel about love and destiny and technology's grim promise, about the utopias we can never have-and why we keep struggling anyway.
Barkan accurately depicts the complexity of the technocratic age ... The satire of Barkan’s dystopia, meanwhile, hinges on a neoliberal vision of the future, not that of Archie Bunker. This is especially true with regards to the identity of the future president, the one blamed for all the future’s problems in the novel. But Demolition Night still resonates ... Barkan’s canny satire rightfully takes aim at our own complicity. And this is the strongest insight in the novel.
It’s a harrowing, humorous, and sometimes confusing satire, set mostly in New York City, that blends detective story and science-fiction, but marred by first-novel missteps ... Ultimately, Demolition Night is a quirky, titillating satire that lambastes American corporatism, sex, and politics; and New York City readers will probably enjoy Barkan’s literal pot-shots at local politicians.
Barkan’s punchy prose is terrific, but the novel never really crystallizes, shifting amorphously from superhero satire to gritty urban noir, punctuated by first-person chapters that sometimes disrupt the third-person flow. There's a dash of Bradbury, a healthy helping of Anthony Burgess, a scary reflection of our Orwellian times, and a bit of kink in Devora, Chase Dimon’s strap-on–wielding dominatrix widow. A funky sci-fi satire with something for everyone, but perhaps not quite what they expected.