cover image Twenty-Five to Life

Twenty-Five to Life

R.W.W. Greene. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-85766-920-9

Greene (The Light Years) makes buy-in to his apocalyptic future difficult. Around seven decades from now, the U.S., beset by catastrophic climate change, has repealed the 26th amendment, which allowed 18-year-olds to vote, and replaced it with one that limits “things like adulthood and full citizenship to persons who are ‘twenty-five or older’... to protect the job market, eliminate housing shortages, and take the pressure off aging infrastructure.” Greene doesn’t do enough to explain how the new law would address these problems, or why those underage are barred from full employment, let alone how it could have been ratified by three-quarters of the states. Against this implausible backdrop, six colony ships launch for Proxima Centauri, intended to be humanity’s new home—at least for the chosen few. Twenty-three-year-old Julie Riley is among the 10 billion left behind to die, and the book focuses on her bland attempts to block out the apocalyptic reality around her. Greene’s worldbuilding underwhelms even in its smallest details, which are often illogical, as in a throwaway bit about Beyoncé having become a country singer late in her career. The undistinguished prose and weak characterizations sink this flawed endeavor. [em]Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Aug.) [/em]