I generally read non-fiction, however, when I do read fiction I look at it as a carrier for real world issues and problems. The Liberty Box, although taking place in some future time, does seem to play on some underlying present day fears.
The Liberty Box by C.A. Gray is the first book of author’s second series of books. The first trilogy took the reader back and forth between the contemporary world and an alternate Arthurian reality. In this Young Adult dystopian series, the reader finds himself in the near future and in the economically collapsed United States. The country is in tatters and the remnants of the government are ineffective and secured away from an unhappy public. One man has a plan and the government is willing to listen.
The man with the plan is Voltolini and his plan comes with a cost. He will become dictator calling himself Potentate and the remainder of the government will serve as a tribunal. Voltolini declares that the United States is no longer a democracy, but a republic. This thought may slip by many readers, but the United States has always been a republic — a representational democracy. The word really hit me and made wonder why such a big deal about being a republic. Since the end of World War II, until the very late twentieth century, there were countries called “Democratic People’s Republics” that were neither democratic nor republics, in fact, they were dictatorships. Perhaps there was more of a message in the story than what is on the surface.
The main story starts with Kate Brandeis is a news reporter living a comfortable life. She is upper middle class, trusts and believes in her government, and like many people in many societies across the world sees the good life. She is happy and well adjusted and thinking of marriage. Suddenly a string of events things changes everything for her and she finds herself among the people she reported as traitors.
In fiction, there is something called the willing suspension of disbelief. It allows the reader to follow the story when magic, or vampires, or something very improbable happens. It’s a fine line, or rather a steep cliff that the reader can go up to the very edge and recover, but once that line is crossed there is no going back. It’s that point where the reader puts down the book and walks away. Gray takes us comfortably near that cliff but not over it, but here is plenty of action and plot to keep the reader hooked on the story.
Looking at the suspension of disbelief a little differently, what if characters in the story lived by the rules of willing suspension of disbelief? What if characters stumble across that cliff of disbelief and refuses to believe in the world they are caught up in? Here, too, Gray takes the reader to something just below the surface of the character’s lives. It is difficult for people to believe that things are not exactly what they seem. Populations and people want to believe something even if the reality is very different. North Koreans believe they only trail China in world prosperity. Castro kept a nation under control by using fear of another US invasion. People feel safer when everyone has to remove their shoes before boarding an airplane. Does believing in something make it so? What happens when people no longer believe what they are told or hear or see? The beginning of that answer is in The Liberty Box.
The Liberty Box will be released on October 25, 2015