cover image Dad's Nuke

Dad's Nuke

Marc Laidlaw. Dutton Books, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-917657-52-8

This dark comedy of surburban paranoia envisions 1998, when communities are armed camps, walling out the world and walling in their families. With no jobs and with automation rampant, people spend much of their time plugged in to computer simulations and lose touch with each other. They accept the apparently benevolent guidance of Doc Edison, who accelerates their aging as if they were so many laboratory rats. One-upmanship is still alive, though, and when Jock Smith plants a rocket launcher in his backyard, ""Dad'' Johnson responds with a nuclear reactor in his garage. (Doc Edison thoughtfully gene-splices the new Johnson baby so that she eats nuclear waste.) When the kids question this warped monument to fossil values, the whole scheme finally unravels. Though somewhat heavy-handed, this is an inventive and energetic satire reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick. February 6