novels were released through Silverthought Press in the spring
of 2006. They were "Iota Cycle" by Russell Lutz, "The
Perfect Revolution" by Oscar Deadwood and "Red Ivy Afternoon"
by Mark R. Brand. Despite the fact that all three authors come
from different backgrounds, and did not collaborate on these works,
the three novels carry a striking number of similarities. This
paper will compare and contrast the three, while attempting to
place them in the cultural context of their authors' environment
- namely, the United States in the first decade of the 21st Century.
In the interest of complete disclosure, I should point out that
I am one of these three authors, Russell Lutz.
As am I, and I would like to take the opportunity to point
out that myself, Mr. Lutz and Mr. Deadwood, actually do have some
latent similarities. Among these is the fact that all three of
us are white men between the ages of 25-35. We earn more than
$20,000 a year but (and this is largely conjecture since I haven't
seen their pay stubs) less than $75,000 annually. We fall, as
it were, squarely into the great, forgotten, chronically-disenfranchised,
"back nine" of modern culture. Our race, gender, and
earnings brackets place us three in a position where society tells
us the world should be at our fingertips, yet ours is the place
where competition is the thickest, and distinguishing ourselves
the most unlikely. Another way to locate us collectively is in
the ever-embattled and shrinking middle class. Since there are
so few chances to rise into the upper class in what Susan Faludi
refers to as an "ornamental" culture, it seems consistent
to say that the three of us live lives poised over the chasm of
paycheck-to-paycheck economic instability. The importance of this
cannot be overlooked when discussing motivation for revolutionary
First, a quick summary of each novel is needed. Lutz's "Iota
Cycle" is a space-faring science fiction tale of colonization
of a distant star system by a group of largely Anglo-American
colonists in the 23rd and 24th Centuries. The book is divided
into chapters, each written from a different character's point
of view. The parts of the book most relevant to this discussion
involve the people known as Europeans, not because of their
original Earth heritage, but because they live on a habitable-zone
planet called Europe. They are mostly farmers, living a rural
existence, in stark contrast to the city dwelling Asians
elsewhere in the system. The Europeans' constant struggle to make
ends meet, even as the terraforming of their planet continues,
leads to political unrest, terrorist activity, and eventually
secession from the Iotan Federation by the European Councilor,
Anton Labrack. The story of the events leading up to the secession
is told by Helena Cochran, one of Labrack's speechwriters. This
revolution ends quite tragically for the Iotans, as their advanced
technology and their fragile existence in the system combines
to result in nearly all of the citizens on both sides of the conflict
Deadwood's "The Perfect Revolution" is also science
fiction, though set in a much nearer future - the year 2013. It
is written as the journal of a soldier in the US Army, Sergeant
Benjamin Benson, who begins the book as a front-line soldier in
Iraq, serving on the border with a still belligerent Iran. Into
this familiar army context are introduced a quantum leap forward
in technology, autonomous android robots known as Perfect Soldiers.
Under the leadership of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Prescott,
the Perfect Soldiers effect a military coup d'etat in the United
States. Benson and his fellow soldiers are brought home from overseas
theaters of conflict and become the front line of the reorganization
of the United States into a military dictatorship, always under
the watchful eyes of the Perfect Soldiers. Benson receives promotion
after promotion for his emotionally debilitating work as the leader
of an extermination squad. Benson finally breaks with the revolution,
with seemingly fatal consequences.
Brand's "Red Ivy Afternoon", though set even further
into the future than "The Perfect Revolution", does
not have the traditional marks of science fiction. There is almost
no indication of advanced technology in the novel. There is a
dystopian flavor to Brand's "Panamerica", a fusion of
several nations under the aegis of the former United States of
America. Several personal freedoms - such as the freedom to produce
written literature - have been curtailed in this time. The narrator
of this story is Julian Lightfall, a dockyard functionary with
minimal drive for ambition in a world where economic class lines
are hard to cross. He becomes involved with Pyndan Calabas, a
man who is orchestrating a revolutionary movement, based in Boston,
but with national influence. Calabas has come to the conclusion
that Democracy is dead in Panamerica, and only a violent overthrow
of the haves by the have-nots will return the power of self-rule
to the people. The revolution strikes a number of not-insignificant
blows, but is eventually snuffed out in a single, tragic night
In only the broadest strokes, the similarities between these
three novels are clear. In each, a disenfranchised minority seeks
to redress their lack of power through violent means. The farmers
of Iota's Europe pull out of a century-old pact with the other
planets of their system. The US soldiers of the "Perfect
Revolution" bring about a military coup. And the poverty
stricken lower class urban workers of Panamerica attempt to overthrow
their corporate masters.
Also of interest is the recurring theme of work as it relates
to the male protagonists of the novels. In "Iota Cycle"
the European farmers ostensibly represent a land-bound toil and
production society that looks ever upward to the Asian planetary
systems that produce largely consumer goods and electronics rather
than raw materials or foodstuffs. The Burke family, which the
book loosely follows, are heavily involved in the farm work rather
than the electronics work, hence placing the male (and occasionally
female) protagonists of the story firmly in the unwashed, thankless
labor class rather than the slick, intellectual, leisure class.
In "The Perfect Revolution", the protagonist is
a small-town kid who has grown up (a little) and enlisted in the
military. The armed forces, at least in the late 20th century,
became largely relegated to the economic sector of last resort.
Their rank-and-file enlisted men were recruited not from college
campuses but from daytime trade schools and mall kiosks where
those not otherwise gainfully or purposefully employed could be
culled. After all, soldiering is a profession that will always
have an edge in respect and masculine purpose over the alternatives
available to non-college-students (washing dishes, part-time service
jobs, answering telephones). To some young men, even the fear
of war is not so great as the emasculating shame of taking a job
as a secretary or nurse. Additionally, Deadwood brought into his
story almost immediately a huge spike in unemployment that led
to an overall breakdown of social networks and institutions. This
is a recurring theme that has taken the place of nuclear annihilation
in dystopian-future tales of the first decade of the 21st century.
Radiation will at least kill you quickly, but to men (who comprise
the lion's share of sci-fi and speculative fiction readership)
unemployment and loss of everything they have worked for and towards
represents an equivalent but slow death. Loss of work identity
is a very special and immediate fear for the modern American man.
Part of what motivates Julian Lightfall in "Red Ivy Afternoon"
to gravitate instinctively towards Calabas and his revolution
is the sense that for some men death is preferable to indefinite
idleness and uselessness. Julian is painfully aware at any given
moment how vicious and narrow the margins are that keep him elevated
enough above the rest of his neighbors to afford an apartment
all to himself. This is not a society where jobs have been lost
completely. Rather, their wages have been lowered and their hopes
for upward mobility uniformly crushed by the iron heel of capitalism.
There are jobs for those who will work like slaves, but there
are no long-term guarantees. There is always the choice to say
"enough", and like Upton Sinclair's meat-packers in
"The Jungle", Julian is perfectly in his right to storm
off the job and into the streets to die of starvation or exposure
in the frigid Boston winter. What results is an un-free freedom
where working men find themselves thankful at all times to participate
in a system that mercilessly oppresses them. Julian encounters
a vague, relentless self-hate that stems from his work, and this
eventually puts him in the right frame of mind to throw his lot
in with violent revolutionaries.
On a stylistic level, it is interesting to note the similar structures
of the three stories.
Each is told in the first person, in the form of a journal. In
fact, each of the three stories (the novels by Brand and Deadwood,
and the chapter titled "Winter" by Lutz) begin with
a clear, self-conscious reference to the journalistic nature of
the work. It seems as if each of the fictional diarists - Cochran,
Lightfall and Benson - want to make it perfectly clear that these
are their words and no one else's, that this is not some
official history of the events, but a highly personal one.
Each of the stories features a protagonist who is tied closely
to the center of their respective revolutions, but always at an
impersonal remove. Ben Benson reports to General Prescott as a
soldier, one singled out for extraordinary service, but still
quite removed from the decision-making process. Helena Cochran
feels a kinship with her employer, Anton Labrack. And yet, she
is excluded from his plans, particularly his spur-of-the-moment
decision to lead a revolt from the Iotan Federation. Julian Lightfall
counts Pyndan Calabas as a friend, and yet learns little of Calabas's
plans until late in the story. He often worries, in fact, that
Calabas might end his life.
It seems as if each of the three authors is going to great pains
not only to paint the picture of the respective revolutions through
the eyes of a minor functionary, but to distance that functionary
from the decision-making process. The authors seem to be saying
that revolutionaries are best described in the third person, that
their desires, their logic, their motives should be rendered through
the lens of another's experience.
This detachment from the center of the events that transpire
in each revolution is, I think, at the thematic heart of each
respective storyline. Revolutions can be bloody, vicious affairs
in which ideas become more important than people's lives. Not
only does no one like to take responsibility for this change in
priorities, but the people who participate in them in stories
require a special narrative pattern that allows the reader to
understand the motivations of those who choose to pick up the
gun, or the bomb, or the leaflet, or whatever. In the cases of
the protagonists/narrators of these three novels, it is evident
that the authors want us to believe that the revolutionary goal
is the leader, not a specific person, and the people who participate
in them are often along for the ride and motivated by a variety
of social factors. This is a very humanistic perspective, and
is narratively persuasive.
This detachment also may have something to do with the mythopoetic
notion of the "Wild Man." Put simply, that which changes
us and helps us evolve often seems, at first, quite dangerous.
The narrators are each at some point at least once hesitant upon
treading across clearly-labeled lines of behavior. Just as in
Robert Bly's "Iron John" the young boy who frees the
Wild Man knows that because he has broken the law he cannot return
home, Julian, Benjamin, and Helena (and others from "Iota
Cycle") know the feeling of self-exile from their cultures
that rides tandem with the very things that will eventually set
them free. In other words, there is no growth or true fulfillment
without simultaneously confronting the boundaries of "acceptable"
The inciting situations in the three revolutions are similar,
but slightly skewed from one another in the details. Each is economic
in nature. The urban workers in "Red Ivy Afternoon"
have been forced, through the mendacity of corporations and the
complicity of the government, to work for unlivable wages in a
period of overall prosperity. The suburban-bred soldiers of "The
Perfect Revolution" respond to the collapse of the US economy,
which has generated 50% unemployment rates and the loss of basic
societal services. The rural farmers in "Iota Cycle"
respond to price-fixing of their food by the Asia-controlled Council,
despite their growing importance in maintaining needed supplies
to feed the fast-growing colony.
Notice how the notion of corporation as a negative force runs
through each story. The highly successful corporations of "Red
Ivy Afternoon" ask for ever more from their workers, while
providing less. The unsuccessful corporations of "The Perfect
Revolution" form a catalyst for economic breakdown of an
entire nation. And the largely ambiguous corporations of "Iota
Cycle" receive the benefits of tightly controlled prices
for some commodities while allowed to charge unregulated prices
for their manufactured goods. In each story, the corporation functions
as a villain, one without a face or a name, working behind the
scenes to blithely create the initial conditions of rebellion.
Rebellion yes, revolution no. Each of these novels contains
the necessary mixture for revolution, but the corporations actually
play a fairly small role in them. Jack Goldstone's "Revolutions
of the Late 20th Century" outlines the conditions necessary
for successful revolution to take place. They are:
1) A young and mobile population. This is surely where Julian
Lightfall, Benjamin Benson, and many characters from "Iota
Cycle" fit in. They have little or no family to fall back
on, no support structure to simultaneously reassure and ground
them to a specific place or behavior. Unemployment, or employment
that is unreliable, makes for the mobility of the population in
general. Where there is no trust or faith that life will go on
more or less as-is, there is often unrest and forms of disobedience
like black markets and gang-culture in order to bring artificial
2) An ineffective or disillusioned governing body. In "Iota
Cycle" this amounts to the difficulties encountered when
trying to coordinate inter-planetary commerce between cultures
who are isolated culturally from each other. In "The Perfect
Revolution", the military-junta style government approaches
the cult of personality leadership of such regimes as the Pinochet
or Ceausescu dictatorships. In "Red Ivy Afternoon",
the government is controlled almost completely by the capitalists,
a virtual oligarchy who have only their own interests in mind.
3) A cultural or social schism between the landed elite and
the military. This is somewhat more subtle in the three novels
above. It is most prominent in "Iota Cycle", where the
military resupply ship finds itself in a delicate political position
when it discovers that the revolutionaries have deliberately sabotaged
communication equipment in order to influence the standard resupply
protocols of the colonies. In "The Perfect Revolution",
the military junta government takes it upon itself to start covertly
assassinating members of the landed and political elite, whether
they are active revolutionaries or not. In "Red Ivy Afternoon",
there is no schism between the landed elite and the military.
There are some defectors from the military to the revolution,
but the theoretical basis of this condition of revolution is a
much broader, widespread ideological gap between the military
as a whole unit and those who control the homeland. Eventually,
it is the lack of this particular condition that causes Pyndan
Calabas's revolution to fail. The "Red Ivy Afternoon"
revolutionaries are crushed by a military whose interests coincide
with that of the oligarchical landed elite.
Similarly, governments, and particularly censorship, form a common
thread between the novels. In "The Perfect Revolution",
one of the first things done by the rebel soldiers is shut down
all electricity and impose curfews and martial law. Information
flow ends. Only the words of General Prescott are, at first, allowed
to be heard by the populace. In "Iota Cycle", the government
- controlled by its Asian Councillors - keeps a tight leash on
the flow of information back to Earth, in an attempt to control
the formulation of a resupply mission. In "Red Ivy Afternoon",
the already mentioned ban on physical written material serves
as a running commentary on the restrictions placed on people by
The hero of each story reacts differently to each revolution.
Julian Lightfall, after initial trepidation, becomes a fervent
believer in Calabas's cause, even after the dramatic failure of
their first open conflict with the powers of Panamerica. He even
hints in the final words of his memoir that he would consider
trying again as the leader of another revolt. Ben Benson shows
a measure of sympathy with the military leaders who provide some
structure for his troubled United States. However, a threnody
of concern, particularly when discussing the enigmatic Perfect
Soldiers, runs through his journal. He is also disgusted by the
grisly details of his part in the revolution. Helena Cochran ends
her involvement in the Iotan revolution without taking sides.
She escapes into obscurity, not willing to support her erstwhile
patron, nor to support the Asian faction of the Federation.
It is interesting to note that the relative support of the protagonist
character for the aims of the revolution is inversely related
to the relative success of that revolution. Julian's full-throated
support for the populist uprising is ill-placed, as the bloody
finale of the book makes clear. Ben's feelings of trepidation
about the Perfect Revolution mean nothing in the face of its fantastic
success. Helena's decision to sit out the Iotan revolution strikes
a middle ground, and echoes the final outcome of that war - no
This is interesting, since the significance of it is almost
certainly narrative rather than literal. In general, the strength
of the support of any single revolutionary in a real revolution
is irrelevant. More important is the social status of the particular
revolutionary. A dock-worker, no matter how vocal or clever, will
generally not have any net effect on the success or failure of
a revolution. A soldier has considerably more, given his or her
status as a member of the military, without which we have already
established that revolutions can almost never succeed. A politician
typically has the most influence on the eventual outcome of a
revolution, due to their high status not only as a public celebrity/intellectual,
but also as a notable representative of the will of large numbers
of people, to which even the landed elite in an oligarchical government
will pay some attention.
A subtler thread of similarity between the stories is the nature
of sacrifice, not on the part of the architects of revolution,
but on the bit players - our diarist heroes. Each of the male
protagonists loses a female friend, one who is not, in fact, a
lover. Julian's relationship is with Christina, a high society
woman with a position akin to a madam of a brothel, matching up
the sons of privilege of Panamerica with the high class women
of Portfolio - a trendy and exclusive club in Boston. Christina's
role as a frontline player in the revolution is revealed quite
late in the story. She and the women in her employ were infected
with a time-release venereal disease, designed to attack the rich
and powerful and their families. Through Christina's self-control
with Julian, he escapes contracting this disease, thus saving
his life. However, Christina herself dies for the cause, much
to Julian's sorrow.
In "The Perfect Revolution", Ben befriends another
soldier, a woman named Tanya. Their relationship never reaches
a romantic level. Tanya's bitter end comes at the hands of a Perfect
Soldier, who executes her after revealing that she is guilty of
"sodomy" with another man. Once again, abstention from
sex serves to save the hero of the story from a terrible fate.
The sacrifice of Helena in "Iota Cycle" is rather more
vague. She implies in her account that working for Anton Labrack
has caused her to lose opportunities, for employment and for love,
though she does not elaborate. She also loses her freedom in the
end, having to go into hiding once the revolution commences.
These observations are concurrent with two main themes of
conflict- and revolution-related stories. First, it is women who
tend to suffer the most from war. Some gender studies theorists
argue this point based on the nature of combat death vs. civilian
collateral damage. There are those who say that women are unfairly
protected from having to physically defend their homelands or
go to war for their countries, and there are others who point
out the horrific war-crimes perpetrated against largely helpless
and defenseless civilian populations in places like Kosovo and
the Sudan. In any case, all three of the novels above represent
sacrifices on the part of the women to the overall outcome that
is in the hands of the male characters.
The second major theme is that in order to put oneself mentally
in a place where the hard-eyed actions of revolution can be carried
out, the male protagonists must distance themselves either voluntarily
or involuntarily from the domestic comforts that the female characters
In "Red Ivy Afternoon" Julian would, if given his
choice, rather stay in his painful drudgery-filled existence with
Christina than take up arms against the whole world. But since
it's clear that he will never possess her (or symbolically, he
will never possess peaceful domestic happiness), he sees little
point in continuing under the corporate yoke.
In "The Perfect Revolution" Tanya represents a softer
side to the chaos that surrounds Benjamin Benson. He sees in her
a way to reconnect to the world outside of war, where women and
men are free to fraternize with each other. Until she is violently
removed from the equation, Benson might never have found the coldness
in himself to lock away his emotions permanently and embark on
the killing-spree that his particular revolution demanded of him.
Helena in "Iota Cycle" represents the deliberate
distancing of domesticity of a male character already committed
to the revolutionary ideals. She is the distracting influence
that must be held off and reconceptualized while Anton Labrack
"does what he has to do".
The motivations for each of the three journals are, ostensibly,
to "set the record straight", to provide an insider's
account of the process of revolution. But, again, in the details,
they differ. Helena's account seems to be one designed to absolve
herself from blame in the matter of European secession. She goes
to great lengths to remind the reader of her disconnection from
Labrack. Her final words indicate that she has been made something
of a scapegoat - along with many others - for the division of
the Iotan government, a theory she fervently denies.
Julian Lightfall's diary tells of a different sort of motivation.
His words, often filled with reminders of the illicit nature of
writing in general, scream for understanding of the nature of
the world, and the necessity to change it. His is the closest
of the three to a political tract, espousing a position for the
reader to either accept or deny.
Ben Benson's journal is nothing less than a confession. At nearly
every step of his journey, he makes choices that, once made, fill
him with extraordinary regret. In the first few pages of the book,
just after the killing of Tanya, he loses control and shoots down
a room full of journalists. That they were sentenced to die anyway
does not reduce his guilt. Unlike Helena, he does not try to escape
blame. He piles blame upon himself in great quantity.
What conclusions can one draw from these stories? What do the
striking similarities of these narratives tell us about the nature
of American society in the beginning of the 21st Century?
Clearly, the nature of large corporations is drawn into question.
They are either complicit in loss of freedom (in "Red Ivy
Afternoon"), guilty of malpractice (in "The Perfect
Revolution") or overly opportunistic (in "Iota Cycle").
But in every case, they prod a divisive and bloody rebellion in
their respective markets. A sense of increased division between
the rich and the poor is the driving force in each rebellion.
Would Brand's working class martyrs have rebelled against their
loss of freedoms had they been well compensated and happy? Likely
not. Would Lutz's European farmers have stood for their break
with the rest of Iota if they didn't feel under the heel of Asian
corporations? It doesn't seem so. Would the soldiers in Deadwood's
novel have supported the coup had they not been told, time and
again, in letters from home how desperate were their families'
economic circumstances? Again, no.
Corporations are convenient scapegoats for revolutionary fiction,
but often not undeservedly so. This is where the importance of
locating these revolutions in the 21st century comes in. The last
15 years of technological and economic advances have seen a shift
toward frightening global capitalism in the form of multinational
corporations. These conglomerates eschew regional trade laws by
existing outside of the legal jurisdictions where they can be
effectively regulated and controlled by the political bodies that
ostensibly enforce the will of the masses. The fact that for the
most part political parties are influenced far more by the corporations
themselves than by any democratic input that the general public
might have notwithstanding, the hands that control the helm of
global progress and direction are increasingly being narrowed
to a very small group of ultra-powerful individuals.
That these individuals can operate above the laws of countries
or political bodies is terrifying in a uniquely 21st century way.
Some of the impetus of "Red Ivy Afternoon", "The
Perfect Revolution" and "Iota Cycle" can be traced
directly back to the alarming CNN broadcasts of violent street-fighting
during 2001 protests of NAFTA and other so-called "Free-trade"
agreements. On the surface, this appeared to be a question of
jobs, employment, and wages. Beneath this, however, was the real
danger of relaxed sanctions and public input into the ethical
doings of corporations who operate across national borders. Thanks
to political wrangling by elite captains of industry, the small
man in the United States can imagine a time where their jobs and
labor become worthless due to mass-sweatshops, union-breaking,
and virtual serfdom due to labor deregulation. As if we weren't
already working 50 hours plus a week and skipping our lunch breaks
to do it.
There is something overtly American about the notion that prosperity
is the right of every level of society. Each of these authors
writes from an American perspective. Brand and Deadwood in the
specifics, Lutz more allegorically. No one is revolting against
their government for high ideals. These rebels are poor and they
see no way within the current structure to shift to a higher class
level. Either regulation ("Red Ivy Afternoon" and "Iota
Cycle") or opportunity ("The Perfect Revolution")
stands in their way. The choice to break with the prevailing authority
is not one of survival. None of these characters is in danger
of starving. They are angry about being devalued and cut off from
the true fruits of their labor - democracy and stability provided
by the soldiers in "The Perfect Revolution", the backbreaking
work of the rank and file in "Red Ivy Afternoon", the
literal fruits of farm labor in "Iota Cycle".
One might conclude that for three disparate authors to independently
generate such seemingly subversive works indicates a threshold
is being reached in America today. Do Brand, Deadwood and Lutz
represent a sampling of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans
who would prefer to undermine the nation's institutions in favor
of something new?
And here is where the current relevance of these three novels
comes in the most tellingly: these revolutions are reacting to
a future that's not much worse than the one we live in now. "Red
Ivy Afternoon" is virtually indistinguishable economically
and technologically from the world we live in today. The soldiers
in "The Perfect Revolution" are people we can see in
our minds because they are on our real-life TV sets every night.
The politicians of "Iota Cycle" haggling over prices
while people starve to death is a contemporary, real-world analogy.
On the other hand, look again at the structure of the novels.
None of the authors chose to write as revolutionaries. They instead
write about them, through the eyes of another, someone swept along
by the tide of events. Julian Lightfall is given a difficult choice
by his friend: join us or leave the country. Despite that he eventually
becomes emotionally tied to the cause, his initial choice is far
from easy. Ben Benson, as a soldier in an army patrolled by god-like
robots, has less choice than Julian. Helena watches from the sidelines
as the European secession happens in bare moments. Each author
builds a case for revolution to occur, but they also distance
themselves from the decision to begin that revolution. The trigger
point of violence is out of their protagonists' hands.
I personally feel that this reluctance to claim the revolution
impetus for themselves indicates a conscious choice on the part
of the authors to play up the forbidden danger element of revolution.
As I mentioned above, there is something inherently fearful about
breaking away from what society accepts, and while many are willing
to do this if prompted, few are willing to be the first one to
step out of line. Knowing the third-person perspective of a revolution
(that is: a revolution not told from the leadership point of view),
is to also know the trepidation that accompanies every revolutionary
that maybe, just maybe, they chose the wrong side to be on.
Perhaps more worthy of note, each of these economic scenarios
is highly speculative. The totalitarian regime of "Red Ivy
Afternoon" is not even The United States of America anymore,
but now Panamerica. The economic depression of "The Perfect
Revolution" is extreme, far worse than any bust period in
American history, including the Great Depression. The invented
worlds of "Iota Cycle" are economically simplistic models,
unlike the current interaction of corporations or nations on Earth.
Though I understand that in the specifics the situations listed
above are indeed highly speculative, I would argue that at their
core is a set of social circumstances that are not only very current
and relevant, but that have conceivably happened before during
the course of countless revolutions in history. If there is something
to be gained from these novels as a group, it is that there is
value in imagining a world where the "same old story"
is played out again and again with rocks, swords, guns, missiles,
Were we to look at the patterns more generally,
we could see conflict coming and try to avoid it before it costs
more lives and needless sacrifice.
Each author, whether consciously or subconsciously, felt the
need to manufacture the basis for revolution. While American in
cultural details, the authors did not tell a story of revolution
in today's America, with today's problems. These
could be seen, instead, as cautionary tales. In two of the stories
("The Perfect Revolution" and "Iota Cycle"),
the danger of advanced technology functions prominently. However,
in all the novels, it is the danger of lost opportunity - opportunity
for employment, for advancement, for profit - that proves to be
the real generator of conflict. These authors seem to be saying
that economic freedom is the bedrock of American stability, and
if we lose that, anything might happen.