Sunday, November 06, 2011

Fighting the System: Why the Avery Cates Series is Worth Reading

I am a sci-fi geek from way back.  I was into the original Star Wars and Star Trek growing up.

Before Peter Jackson came out with his version of Lord of the Rings, I saw the Bakshi version. 

And when I discovered the Avery Cates series, I wrote about it after book three (The Eternal Prison).

When I first started reading the series, I always felt the best background music was this:

If you think we live in an Income Disparity NOW, read what happens when the hippies get together and decide that the world should go under One Government.  Here is a piece from The Electric Church:

"The streets of new York were always crowded, because no one had anywhere to go. Hovers zoomed by overhead, rich kids toys.  Nothing commercial went by hover -- all the shipping was automated, on specialized underground routes, though garbage was sometimes hauled in the air.  The...robots had all the jobs; they were self-healing, intelligent machines that never tired, never showed up late or hung over," 
-- Jeffery Somers, The Electric Church, pg 66

In a world of Cyborg Monks, Psychics and Police from the Government (called the System Security Force), Avery Cates is a low man on the totem pole. heck, anyone living below 23rd Street (the Flatiron building) has a limited lifespan.

Since this also a Politico Blog, keep this quote in mind:

"The misfortune of high minded intellectuals [in politics] is that, until it is too late, they remain unaware of the sudden waves of emotion which the majority can be swayed...of the shabby secret stratagems of ambitious men," -- Sir Harold Nicolson

The highest enforcer for the "Joint Council," in this Unified World is Richard Marin, the Director of Internal Affaits of the SSF.  Think of Marin as the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard in this New World.

He put Cates on the board to rid the world of the Electric Church.

There is blowback in the second book, the Digital Plague.

In the aftershocks of the Plague a Civil War begins between the Army and the SSF.  With Marin leading one group and Undersecretary Ruberto leading the other. There are cyborgs involved.  Keep your eyes peeled.
This all happens in the Eternal Prison.

So, the world the "Joint Council," built is smashed to pieces by book 4, the Terminal State.  But remember the psychics in Book 1, they're back!

And to parallel Marin is another character, Canny Oral.  His story ties into Unification.

I won't say how or why, just it leads to a satisfying conclusion in Book 5, the Final Evolution.

As I finished the last two books, this was Cates' theme:

As a Goth, I enjoyed reading this Dystopian series.  Ruins everywhere. The pre-unification Riots play a big role in the cities the books go through.

But the scariest place was Chengara Prison.  And until you read the series, you won't know why.

As a Politico of the Right, I can easily say "See, this is what happens when you try for a perfect world,"  

I'm sure Cates would agree with me (before he killed me, of course).

The writing is tight.  Jeff Somers writes like a futuristic James Ellroy.  Except with Cyborgs and Dystopias.

The series is enjoyable, whether Cates is surviving against the Monks, Marin, Ruberto or Oral.  On a cold night, the novels can take you into this disintegrating world. While the novels start in New York, Somers brings his characters to different cities, changed by Unification, riots and war.  At times, you feel as if you are walking with Cates.

Read this series.  Tell your friends to do the same!

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