A Free Man

Michel Basilieres. ECW Press (Legato Publishers Group, U.S. dist; Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $18.95 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-77041-233-0
One day, as the narrator is hard at work writing his second novel, an old friend named Skid Roe shows up at his door with some weed, wine, and a fantastical story detailing his failed attempts to court his young coworker NaNa, which takes up most of the novel (the narrator’s interjections are relegated to footnotes). Skid is both helped and hindered in his quest by Lem, a shape-shifting, mind-reading robot from 300 years in the future. Lem, however, has plans of his own—he’s determined to convince Skid to follow him into the future for the purposes of breeding “a sustainable population.” This novel is labelled a “pre-apocalyptic dystopia,” depicting a world where everything is annotated and copyrighted. Skid is proto-punk—he cares little for technology or material things; he views those around him as if they are denizens of a zoo. Basilieres (Black Bird) relays Skid’s story as if it were one long, uninterrupted screed, pushing the narrator to the margins while the self-absorbed Skid takes center stage. The narrative plays loosely with established dystopian tropes; its message—that we are most likely our own undoing—is ultimately skin-deep, offering little insight, but the story is a great deal of fun all the same. Agent: Sam Hiyate, the Rights Factory. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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