Friday, February 11, 2011

Veracity by Laura Bynum **** 2010

In Veracity, by new author Laura Bynum, the reader is presented with an updated dystopia in the tradition of 1984 and Brave New World. In this 21st century version the government removes all civil liberties in response to an external threat. In a literary attempt to remove the book from topical politics and the recent Bush administration, the external threat is a fabricated pandemic instead of the obvious terrorists. This sets up the main conflict between the resistance with their Book of Noah and the government that controls everyone with a electronic "slate" attached to their neck to monitor and censor every spoken word.

This book reminds me that some myths are so attractive that they refuse to die in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. Examples that drive intellectuals to tears or laughter include: young earth and creationism. But these same intellectuals readily embrace the Whorfian Hypothesis that language determines thought. At its base, Veracity is a paean to this 19th century hypothesis in its most discredited form.

Veracity excels in science-fiction world building, but lacks something in its science and characterization.

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