Blackout by Sam Mills
Paperback, 296 pages
Stefan lives in a world where all books have happy government-approved endings. A world where classics have been rewritten in such a way that they promote passivity. This was the government’s reaction to terrorist attacks in the name of The Catcher in the Rye.
Stefan’s father is a bookseller who has witnessed the “pacification” of the English people. He teaches Stephan about how the books have been rewritten to subvert the will of the people – to keep them from rising up against the government. To keep them safe. To keep them afraid. To keep them ignorant.
When Stephan’s father chooses to hide a man considered to be a terrorist, Stephan has to decide which is more important: his family, or the safety of the English people. And he comes to learn that politics and loyalty are more complicated than he has previously imagined.
When I was explaining this to a friend, I told her to think of it as 1984 by George Orwell meets Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury meets V for Vendetta by Alan Moore meets modern time. It adds voice to the conversations about how people are affected by the media they consume: do books and violent video games really cause us to act certain ways? And if we can learn about and how to practice empathy from stories, could it not be argued that we learn about and how to enact violence from stories as well?
You may be able to find this book in the Amazon Marketplace, but it’s not currently being published in the United States. I wonder why that is…
This book was the November 2013 book pick for the Nerdfighteria Online BookClub. You can watch our conversation about Blackout live here, this weekend, or on the Nerdfighteria Online BookClub YouTube Channel.