Hour of Trust • 1973 • SF novelette by Gene Wolfe

★★★

Meta: isfdb. This SF novelette by Gene Wolfe was published 1973 in Thomas Disch’s anthology Bad Moon Rising. I read it as part of the collection The Best of Gene Wolfe.

Synopsis

There is a civil war in the U.S. in the 1990s, but the government isn’t functioning or controlling the army any more. Corporations have taken over the government side. Things are going downhill, money is needed desparately. A TV show featuring a victory in the battle of Detroit is launched as part of a money raising conference. The broadcast is hijacked by one of the hippie opponents.

Review

Loved the setup where corporations take over whole states or functions of states; it is a cyberpunk style way before that subgenre was started in the 80s. The fighting soldiers are not soldiers at all, but clerks and business people. So it seems natural when some libraries where put under the financial umbrella of the DoD.

Instead of nationalistic ideals, everything has to bow under financial and stock holders‘ profits. Can money really replace ideals? Everyone is pretty incompetent – it was difficult to take sides and I don’t know who are the good guys.

I found the replacing of proper names with dashes a bit irritating, I think it resembles some historical style of writing.

As a side note, the story „Forlesen“ takes a different angle at the same topic.

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