The Lost Cause

Tor. Nov. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781250865939. $29.99. SF
In the 2050s, the U.S. is both sinking and burning due to climate change. Successive liberal governments have done their best to create a better future for everyone, alternating with die-hard conservative administrations that do their damndest to reverse the tides. Brooks Palazzo, a young man trying to make his city a better and more inviting place, is caught in the crossfire between welcoming a caravan of internal refugees and his grandfather’s friends in their faded red caps and their agitation to keep their city for people just like them. Brooks and his friends have youth, experience, and above all drive, but his granddad’s buddies still have guns stashed in the basement and are itching to go out in a blaze of glory. As grim as the setting is, because the novel is told from the perspective of Brooks and his friends, it’s surprisingly hopeful as it delivers a well-told story with plenty of dramatic tension that still manages to convey the message that dealing with entrenched politics is a marathon race, the surest way to lose is to stop running.
VERDICT Doctorow (Red Team Blues) tells a thought-provoking story, with a message of hope in a near-future that looks increasingly bleak.
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