I recently finished writing a science-fiction novel. It has more than a few libertarian elements, and I thought you might be interested in checking it out. Actually, hey guys it’s the Holidays don’t ya know? How about buying Fool’s Errand! And then, if you have money left over (or prefer fiction), check out my book!
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(Available on Kindle and paperback; Kindle Unlimited until mid-February)
My book is a “post-post-apocalyptic” setting that deals with the question: “What is the American Dream?” Specifically, the book follows the journey of a young woman named Evelyn Ross on a mission for her family. She lives in Missouri, a few decades after the fall of America, where survivalists and crafty-people-turned-survivalists have gathered and rebuilt some civilization. Her quest begins as a simple business trip, a sales push, but will it become more than that?
Libertarians might be interested in the backstory, which is treated as something of a mystery. What I’ll reveal is that America as we know it, some time in the near future from today, experienced a “Crisis” of some sort. Libertarians can imagine what might go wrong in American society to lead to a collapse of civilization in the middle part of North America. In the story, one character admits that “with the collapse of soft power, the hard power of government couldn’t afford to keep law and order”. Suffice it to say that violence and mob mayhem ruled the middle part of the country until, a few years after the Crisis, the US Army decides to push up the Mississippi River to restore order. They aren’t welcomed with open arms, and are forced to retreat.
The consequences of this are that the US Government only rules to the East of the Appalachians. They also control New Orleans and few walled cities such as Cincinnati and Denver, but that’s it. The Constitution is rewritten, and the United States is reorganized as a central state which devolves administrative power to metropolitan “City-States” which are run like little socialist “utopias”.
Meanwhile, the Crisis weakened the world’s governments right as a true industry in outer space was emerging to provide electricity – beamed via microwaves from solar power satellites to the Earth. This “Space” society remained independent from world governments, and had a both antagonistic, but mutually economically dependent relationship with Earth. Space, early on, lacked manpower; no government was willing to provide it. They turned to the renegade, anarchist, survivalists of Missouri to craft their custom parts. They parachuted advanced computerized mills (“3-D printers”) to Missouri to accomplish the task. Three things emerged as a consequence.
First, Missouri became an ungoverned “maker” society. Space developed a system of finance using blockchain technology, which also tracks reputation. Your “reputation” and the exchange value of your personal “stock” go hand-in-hand. Thus, decentralized finance and law – at least a technological mechanism to facilitate both – is available to the people of Missouri.
Second, the trade of parts from Missouri to New Orleans (the spaceport location), resulted in commerce upon the waters of the Mississippi. The wild waters of the new America.
Third, trade along the Mississippi developed a society there. It is an ungoverned, wild, often dangerous, but functional society. It has some of the advances of Missouri, and some of the barbarism of the primal forest. This is the setting of Evelyn’s journey.
As Evelyn travels in an old-time steamboat, rockets to space streak across the sky from the horizon…
The story is a sort of odyssey, with a few stops along the way to the final destination. One such stop is a walled and garrisoned “independent” City-State of Memphis. In Memphis, the reader can witness what happens when the American evangelical propensity to equate soldiers, the war, and the flag with holiness, is brought to its natural conclusion. The themes of war and peace are examined, as well as those of redemption and sin.
Our own Scott Horton inspired a character in Memphis. A man named Horton Gunn. A “radio peace man” trying to get the good folks of Memphis to chill out a little and maybe look to the River and to commerce, rather than to the shedding of blood, to deal with their problems.
Evelyn encounters a truly terrifying villain whose unique take on the purpose of life and God’s intent with creation is utterly diabolical. This villain attacks not Evelyn’s physical well being, but instead punishes her spiritually.
Underlying the whole narrative, and the whole world of this “River” society, is a literary subtext. Each and every block sent through the “net” along the chain contains the text of an amateur poetry collection written by the people of the River. “The Poem”, Columbia’s Tears, is the literary expression of their society.
A man from New York City, a hipster literary type with an outrageous mustache, travels to Missouri to probe the secrets of this poem.
He hopes he might learn what the “American Dream” had been all about, and why it died, in the end.
Meanwhile, things are changing, and maybe not for the better. The mysterious industrial titan of Space – Oliver Dennison – looms above it all. He is said to reside in spinning city in space, a station which orbits the moon, whose light has created a permanent new star in the heavens. A “Luna Two”, always there, with Olly Dennison always in sight, a mysterious symbol with unknown intent.
My book is about 700 pages long. I have been told it is well written, however, Amazon lets you browse the first 40 or so pages for free. What I can’t promise is that you’ll like the story overall. However, the above is a pretty comprehensive preview. I think the story is awesome. It’s not just technological sci-fi: it’s economic sci-fi, and even religious sci-fi. Explorations of libertarian justice also occur.
There are a few typos, not on every page, but yes, every now and again. I can’t afford an editor, and it’s tough to edit 700 pages, but I work to improve the text every day. I’m past the point of changing the substance of the text, so I published it, but I’ll still update the manuscript with typo corrections when I can. I only wanted to mention this for the sake of transparency.
Please check out my book, especially if you have Kindle Unlimited (because it’s free and every page you read, for free, helps me out).
I’d appreciate any reviews anyone would be willing to write, in fact I need them more than anything else.
Finally, I think my book would make a great Christmas present for a fiction loving libertarian who enjoys books even if they’re longer than 250 pages. The book is fun, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but isn’t afraid to explore certain themes very deeply. Also, maybe my book will inspire the next libertarian author to think, “hey I could do this too.”
As for age appropriateness, I personally would say 15 and up, but I’m not a conservative Christian. There is no explicit sexuality, but perhaps one or two allusions to sexual behavior. The main character is a 16 year old woman who refuses to drink alcohol for the entire story, though other characters get drunk sometimes. There is peripheral violence in certain parts, but contextualized to a commentary about war. There are harrowing moments – and I really mean that. There are about three or four “four letter words” in 700 pages. Religious themes are discussed, too.
Finally, see if you can figure out which libertarian talking head is the inspiration for one of our steamboat captains in the story!