cover image Radicalized


Cory Doctorow. Tor, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-22858-1

Author and blogger Doctorow’s thought-provoking latest story collection considers several possibilities of a future America. All of the tales are linked together by desperation borne out of trying times. “Unauthorized Bread” chronicles the attempts of refugee families to circumvent the restrictions of their apartment building, where elevators only stop for the rich and appliances are controlled by third-party software. In “Model Minority,” superhero American Eagle tries to assist victims of racial violence by challenging the system, but the effort hurts more than it helps. The title story follows a man who becomes involved in an online support forum after his wife is diagnosed with cancer. When members of the forum begin to attack insurance companies and hospitals, the man’s life, livelihood, and marriage are put on the line. Rounding out the collection is “The Masque of the Red Death,” in which a lucky few hold against the encroaching apocalypse in a makeshift camp, even as the odds are stacked against them. Doctorow (Walkaway) captures the mix of hope, fear, and uncertainty felt by those in precarious situations, set against the backdrop of intriguing futuristic landscapes. The characters are well wrought and complex, and the worldbuilding is careful. This is a fine introduction to Doctorow’s work, and his many fans will enjoy its exploration of favorite themes. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary. (Mar.)