A Family War by Stewart Hotston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Imagine a world where the richest of the rich have bought all governments and now have total control of the entire planet, its resources, and beyond into the Solar System. These wealthy, all families of the globe’s top multinational corporations, have access to nanotechnology to create or recreate themselves and their children, to heal their ills or wounds; internal AI’s give them 24/7 access to news, data, or any other information, through “the Cloud” without having to lift a fingertip. Going out for the evening, the same tiny machines give these elites designer eye, skin, or hair color. Most importantly, however, this technology keeps these family members alive for a very long time; not quite eternal life but an extended longevity of hundreds of years.
This is the world painted for us by Stewart Hotston in A Family War. The year is 2289, there or about. This is a time long after humanity messed up the planet resulting in climate change. Governments, democratic and otherwise, are passé, having centuries earlier given up the ghost of any semblance of justice or integrity. Government had sold out to the highest bidders, corporate media, and the drive to bring in the highest market share for their vested corporate families.
For all the delights of designer everything, those luxuries only exist for the Families and their respective members: the Oligarchs, as Hotston refers to them. The rest, or Normals, as he calls them, relegated to serve in any way their master Oligarchs command them; they are lesser-than, and their only hope of advancement is to sell their children for research or military purposes.
Do you think this sci-fi fantasy book sounds way out, too far-fetched? Hardly! Stewart Hotston is masterful in creating a world that has finally succumbed to neo-feudalism; not a world of fascists or military, or religious, dictators who attempt to march across the world and seize control. No, Hotston’s world is one of combined media and corporate global domination; this world, of the big money, creeps up on the rest of humanity without firing a shot.
As one of Hotston’s characters relates mid-book:
“The national governments were finally succumbing to the corporations, a step backwards in the opinion of many, to neo-feudalism…Longevity was spread amongst the richest and most powerful without respect for the dividing lines of individual corporate power. Amongst the powerful it did not distinguish.”
This book should be on everyone’s reading list who is concerned about the state of our world now with the influence of money, especially corporate money, in our politics and world affairs. Far from being just another fantasy novel, A Family War by Stewart Hotston may well be a warning for the future of us all!
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