Slow Boil Rising
By D.T.E. Madden

Synopsis: This book is a fictional look at a dystopian near future where the United States has become the Unified Society of America, “tolerance” as defined by the government is the enforced ideal, and people are forced to accept the “freedom” of the “General Will.” It is an extrapolation of present day trends, with our political atmosphere of today moving toward a tyrannical definition of tolerance, an enforcement of such ideas, and expungement of unpopular views. Unlike previous dystopian books like Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, this book is written with a strong overtone of humor.

Strong Points: The story is cleverly-written. It shifts between characters at very opportune moments, which make the story glide along smoothly. The humor of the book is an effective tool for highlighting the ridiculous nature of the ideas promulgated by big government leftists. And yet, the serious and dreadful consequences of such tyranny are not lost on the reader at all. So many issues relevant to our day are touched on, such as hypersensitivity to ideas about the role and capability of women, the treatment of animals as on par with people, and the initiation of violence in the event that a group of people are unwilling to conform. Frightening political innovations are revealed to the reader, such as kangaroo courts which assign serious punishment to citizens for such minor infractions as fishing; sweeping and oppressive legislation in the name of fairness and equity; a new Constitution which entirely redefines the role of government to be comprehensive; government agencies created to maintain the state’s views upon the people, such as the “Department of Free Speech,” tasked with ensuring that the wrong speech is not tolerated. All of these elements combine to make a stirring warning regarding current political trends.

Weak Points: The story has a lot of moving parts and a lot of characters to keep track of, which at times seemed almost strenuous. Also, I would have liked to have read more about the day-to-day life of the average citizens in this dark dystopia, rather than such a grueling portrayal of some of the characters’ forced basic military training (which, however, included brainwashing by the state). Also, the reader should beware that there is a fair amount of vulgarity in the book. Lastly, this book is not a stand-alone; it is the first of a series. So if a reader was looking for a concise statement like 1984 or Brave New World, this is on a different scale.

Interesting:  3.7/5

Must Read: 3/5

Overall: 3.9/5

Pages: 301

Selected Quote: “‘So, anyway, before I was interrupted, I was telling you about my journey to the latrine after having my fourth or fifth cup of Bureau of Fair Trade French Vanilla Coffee. This time I did not use the stall farthest away from the exit. It was as if I had been in a preordained dissociative trance. This time I used the middle stall, the very stall my nameless colleague had used while I was washing up during my previous trip. So, as I sat, a wave of horror came over me. I had failed to, y’know, deploy the Department of Everything Else tissue paper on the seat, as was my habit. I had no idea where my nameless colleague had been before, what toilets she had used before, and, y’know, who else had also used the toilets before her. I could have been exposed to a horrible toilet-borne disease. It was at that point my dread subsided into a moment akin to Dolly Madison’s chopping down the cherry tree outside George Washington’s house, getting hit on the head with an apple, then refusing to tell a lie about it. But instead of discovering gravity like Dolly Madison did, I had just, y’know, discovered Post-Colonial Post Modern Toilet Interconnectedness. So, you see, it was then I realized that all human beings are connected in this world by the toilets we use. Isn’t that great?’
“Rohm asked, somewhat intrigued, ‘But I do have a question. What about people who do not use toilets? Or those who have never seen a toilet, much less running water?’
“Jones-Jones was slightly taken aback. ‘What do you mean?’
“‘Well, didn’t your report –’
“‘Doctoral thesis,” Jones-Jones corrected.
“‘Didn’t your thesis talk about people like infants who have never been toilet trained or people in remote parts of the world like the Congo and the Amazon that have never even seen a toilet? How can those people be interconnected by toilet?’
“‘You are assuming that the very young and those living in underserved areas are not capable of being interconnected because of their age or socioeconomic background. Let me tell you, Agent Rohm, such assumptions exhibit ageist, classist, and racist undertones and therefore have no place in the enlightened and thoughtful discourse of academia. So, right, I can see why you never continued your education beyond high school, and why you are only a Level One Agent while I am Level Two. And I can also see your future. You, Agent Rohm Level One, are going to report as soon as we get back from patrol as an Interconnectedness Denier …’” (p. 230, 232).


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