In a future Earth, where terrorist acts led to a global corporate takeover, a world where the haves and have-nots are separated by seemingly impenetrable social and economic barriers, the only hope for some is emigration. Sleeper ships intent on delivering worker-bee colonists as cheap labor are under construction in Earth’s orbit right now. But when corporate cost-cutting begins endangering lives and slavery becomes the next viable corporate practice managed by increasingly complex and ruthless AI overseers, a few brave have-nots will band together, first to save lives, and then to save humanity itself.
The Displaced is the first in Bob D’eith’s proposed Corpocracy series, a bleak look at a corporate-run planet where humans are resources, not people. The callousness of the Corporate class is staggering, but at the same time, utterly believable in the wake of business news these days, with car companies weighing malfunctions and deaths against the bottom line.
While The Displaced is unabashedly more sentimental than other futuristic corporate sagas published recently — like Neil Asher’s The Owner series — it’s also more streamlined. The pacing of The Displaced is positively breakneck, offering little description to accompany the rapidly unfolding story. We don’t know what these people or their surroundings look like. Everything outside the plot and its intrigues has been stripped away in service of narrative momentum.
This works in the short term, as The Displaced hooks the reader with escalating crises for the protagonists to handle, offering plenty of opportunities for further twists and turns to come in subsequent books. But, hopefully, D’eith will slow down long enough in the next installment of the series to fill in a few more details along the way.
However, despite his laser focus on the narrative, D’eith delivers engaging protagonists whose interactions feel sincere. Their struggles to maintain their idealism in the face of crippling realities — corporate control, limited resources, and the growing danger posed by their fierce efforts to retain their individuality and personal liberties — adds much-needed weight to what would otherwise be an elaborate cautionary tale about corporate thinking run amok.
The Corpocracy series is already mining fertile ground in The Displaced; here’s hoping D’eith strikes gold with the next installment.
|Page Count||323 pages|
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|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|