cover image The Year 200

The Year 200

Agustin de Rojas, trans. from the Spanish by Nick Caistor. Restless, $18.99 trade paper (640p) ISBN 978-1-63206-051-8

Using preserved brainwaves, past rulers try to infiltrate the communist utopia of an undated future Earth in a philosophical science fiction thriller that struggles under too much worldbuilding. De Rojas (A Legend of the Future) opens with the horrific concept of putting the brain of a sadist in the body of a young boy, demonstrating the evil of the invaders. Yet the utopia’s current rulers also manipulate others, segregating those who reject their perfect order. Highlighting these moral quandaries requires an enormous cast of well-developed characters, but the extensive thoughts and discussions dilute the suspense and speculative elements. De Rojas is perfectly willing to ask hard questions, and this struggle for the soul of humankind’s future will leave readers thinking long after the last page is turned, but as a work of fiction, it never quite comes together. [em](July) [/em]