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Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

I post my reviews to:

booklore.co.uk
midwestbookreview.com
2 yahoo groups
Amazon and B&N (of course)
Librarything.com
Goodreads.com
Bookwormr.com
Books-a-million.com
Reviewcentre.com
Onlinebookclub.org
Pinterest.com
and on Twitter
(seriously)

I am always looking for more places to post my reviews.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Normal

Normal, Warren Ellis, Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2016

There are two different types of people whose job it is to look into the future. Foresight strategists think about smart cities and ways to avoid the Coming Doom. Strategic forecasters think about drone warfare and ways to prepare their clients for the Coming Doom. "Looking into the abyss" is not something that can be done forever; eventually, depression sets in. If the dreaded "abyss gaze" takes hold, the only place to recover is at Normal Head, a facility inside an experimental forest in Oregon.

After an outburst at a conference in the Netherlands, Adam Dearden, a foresight strategist, is taken to Normal Head. Being cut off from the outside world sounds pretty good. The different types of futurists at Normal Head do not mix at all. A patient is suddenly missing from a locked room, leaving a pile of insects in his wake. There is a staff investigation. Sitting outside, Adam crushes an annoying bug, only to find that it is full of very sophisticated electronics. Both types of futurists become convinced that they should find, and destroy, any other surveillance insects.

It all has to do with the coming of total surveillance (not just of electronic communication but also of speech and handwritten communication) and a new type of mini drone that is sophisticated enough to drop its micro-explosive cargo on specific people in a political riot.

This is a short novel, and it's really good and really thought provoking. It says a lot about how and why humans think about the future, and the now. It is very much worth reading.

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