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By Scott McDermott

ELECTION 2064: BOOK ONE, Scott McDermott’s futuristic tale of a civil war-torn America eagerly embracing a president’s healing process gesture of picking a vice president from the opposition, is a commentary on our age. In McDermott’s hands such appeals to unity rhetoric mask a sinister agenda that is all too possible today.

One of the bizarre features of the world we’re living in today is that voters so dislike their choices in candidates that they want someone, anyone, to run instead. And yet each election fosters such bitterness that such matters as “the healing process” and the “peaceful transfer of power” become more and more difficult to achieve.

McDermott skillfully takes these features of our era–pleas by both sides to come together in unity, quickly followed by a resumption of partisan warfare–and applies them to a not too distant America in the smoking aftermath of a Second Civil War.  Nearly destroyed, America has to engage in a “healing process” and a “peaceful transfer of power.”  To carry this out, McDermott creates a president, who in the familiar jargon of our day, wants to “fix” the literally “broken system” and calm the war passions by selecting a vice president from the not so “loyal opposition.”

Like most dystopias the key to a successful one is how well the author has thought the regimes out in a plausible but still terrifying way.  There are really three ways to write dystopias: one, by giving the reader the fist of the state upfront without any soothing rhetoric (i.e., Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale); two, by showing that a seemingly perfect society is built upon a crime and the perpetuation of them by government figures; or three, in which, despite their soothing advertisements the government has a sinister agenda that citizens will not discover until it is too late.

McDermott belongs to the latter and to pull off this type of story the author has to have a gift of not giving too much information to the reader while at the same time getting them to turn the page.  McDermott has this gift in spades.  ELECTION 2064: BOOK ONE is a stand-alone novel on its own; but such is McDermott’s skill the reader will want more follow-ups (as soon as he is able to write them).

~Ron Capshaw for IndieReader