cover image The Lost Cause

The Lost Cause

Cory Doctorow. Tor, $29.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-86593-9

Doctorow (Red Team Blues) plausibly imagines a near future in which catastrophic climate change has made multiple coastal cities around the world uninhabitable. Though the passage of a Green New Deal in the U.S. has helped combat rising temperatures, it has also stoked political fury on the aging right. Brooks Palazzo became an orphan at nine years old after his environmentalist parents died while fighting wildfires and restoring habitats in Canada. He moved in with his grandfather Richard, an abusive, unrepentant MAGA supporter, in Burbank, Calif. Now 19 and about to finish high school, Brooks stumbles on an attempt to sabotage his school’s solar panels—and recognizes the perpetrator as one of Richard’s friends. Shortly after Brooks thwarts this terrorist, Richard dies and Brooks inherits his house. With newfound resources at his fingertips, he becomes an activist and unlikely hero as the impending arrival of a refugee caravan raises political tensions. Brooks’s bravery and idealism are admirable and, though a romantic subplot feels like a distraction, Doctorow does a solid job of imagining how acting both locally and globally in the face of environmental catastrophe can make a difference. Fans of Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140 will want to check this out. (Nov.)