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Splinterlands Paperback – December 6, 2016

3.9 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books (December 6, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608467244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608467242
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Have you read much apocalyptic fiction? You know how it focuses on weaponry, supplies, survival mechanisms? Well, Splinterlands is just as focused on TEOWAKI as any of those less well-written productions (with the exception of Lucifer's Hammer, which is really quite good). But its obsession is with geopolitics and the mechanisms of our demise. Far more interesting.

The footnotes are written in another voice, and while they are intended to add the "story" to the geopolitical analysis, they are sometimes a little too coy. I read 'em all faithfully, however.

The interesting thing about Splinterlands is its anticipation that technology will continue to evolve -- the plot depends heavily on a readily available Virtual Reality thingy -- despite the disintegration of society into cabals, most of them no longer religiously based but seeking raw power. And although it was written before our recent election, the book employs a Hurricane Donald as a final catalyst for dissolution.

My first reading was quick. I wanted to know what happened. No surprises, but satisfying. Now I need to read it again to study more closely the geopolitical observations. Most of those that attached myself to my brain on the first pass-through seemed to ring pretty true. Like unpleasant bells.

Have now passed the book on to my daughter. I actually bought two from the TomGram website, thinking I would give the second as a gift. But it's going to take some consideration to choose a recipient.

I recommend this book unless you are looking for a "son broke his leg and I gave him half an aspirin because SHTF" kind of treatment of the potential future evolution of our world.
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I sat down to read this piece of dystopian fiction expecting and eagerly anticipating a book similar
To the the novels I've come to expect of this genre(Hunger Games, World War Z, etc). Instead, what I read was a book that made me think, not just entertain; a book that truly frightened me because, unlike other books in this genre, we're already beginning to live this future. Splinterlands is both thoughtful and entertaining. I would hope that readers are sufficiently informed by Splinterlands that they are compelled to take action our future depends on it
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If feels a little wrong to express delight over reading a dystopian novel that is so deeply grounded in factual observations of our present, but hey: Delighted I was. What a ride, if deeply disturbing because in 2050 Feffer's account may well have become reality.
I first encountered John Feffer speaking about North Korea and was impressed by his ability to look at a situation without ideological attachment. When I saw he had written fiction I decided to give it a try, and am glad I did.
And the book is short! Nothing wrong with long books but here's one I could read quickly before something else got me off track.
I bought a second copy and sent it to a friend who reports he loved it, too.
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This short speculative novel by John Feffer presents a chilling view of a global collapse just around the corner. A literal splintering. For those paying attention to the direction globalization is taking us, the narrative is convincing. Not so appealing is the “presentation” of the “content.” Therein lies the problem: the narrator, an academic and acclaimed author Julian West describes his literal displacement by Hurricane (ahem) Donald in 2022 which floods and decimates Washington, D.C., forcing West to his roof. Thank you, global warming.

It is not clear at the outset why, but some twenty-five years later, aged and in ill-health, West is bedridden and decides to contact his three estranged children and wife, all scattered across the globe. He does this with a virtual headset and avatar, Virtual tours plus “face to face” meetings in venues as diverse as Brussels, China, and Africa. West’s children have all taken separate paths, adjusting to the collapse in their own ways, but all have misgivings with their father. So we basically have three separate dialectics which doesn’t make for fully fleshed out drama. The splintering of the family is directly analogous to the splintering of the geopolitical landscape. Like the Syfy series, “Incorporated,” there are green and red zones.

This is less of a problem in the concluding two chapters where human interaction is more compelling. West contacts his estranged wife of 25 years, Rachel, also once a scholar researcher, who turned her back on academia to join a commune in Vermont, quite successfully as it turns out. West is receiving some experimental treatment for a pandemic staph infection. Rachel is ill, too and Julian wants them to be together to share the treatment. The transmission is cut off before she can answer.

In the final chapter we learn why West is receiving the treatment and from whom as well as other ulterior motives for contacting his family. It’s worth a look and makes for a quick read.
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This was an excellent book. As it starts up Washington D.C. has been all but wiped out due to the destruction caused during Hurricane Donald. Europe is in tatters and to quote the book, " The United States is united in name only". A sick man goes to visit each of his three children and ex-wife - and all four of them are living incredibly different lives in this future world. I don't want to give too much of the story away since it is a brief book but it is an incredibly timely read.
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