Furious, funny, and smart, Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized is a quick, cracking read, full of the brave ideas and humanistic optimism that have marked Doctorow as one of our best writers and activists. The four novellas in Radicalized grow from a fundamental truth: That things in 2019 America are horrifyingly broken ... Radicalized’s razor-sharp stories are up-to-the-second relevant and gleefully, unashamedly political ... this is all funnier than I’m making it sound. It’s also smarter than I’m making it sound, with Doctorow digging deep into these concepts, threats, and possibilities. For all of these stories’ sci-fi sheen, the cruel realities of contemporary America hover just beneath the surface, and Doctorow is fearless in exploring their real-world ramifications. Radicalized will be categorized as science-fiction, but there’s only enough fiction here to make the book a quick, slick read. As the words click and roll by, the non-fiction beneath burns like acid.
While all the novellas present precarious situations, they are ones that still feel intriguing and all too real ... While some of the ideas here are more thought-provoking than others, the settings and plots of these dystopian universes are the shining stars. Radicalized is hugely entertaining and humorous, and takes specialized care in capturing the uncertainty and casual prejudices we all experience. It is for eager fans and newcomers alike, and is certain to introduce Doctorow to wider audiences and take traditional sci-fi out of its comfort zone.
This collection showcases the author's (and genre's) propensity for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable with stories of near-future dystopias so close we can see them from here. Only one has an even slightly hopeful ending ... The stories get less hopeful and more frightening ... The near futures Doctorow...portrays in these stories are chilling in their possibility and will draw in any sf reader who imagines what might happen if our current situations remain unchanged. Highly recommended.