In an alternate world not so different from our own, where Ronald and Nancy Reagan have served seven terms, the U.S. has splintered, and Colorado has been under a religious dictatorship, a group of teenagers make their way across the remains of Denver. In the real world, oppressive governments based on religious fundamentalism or bigotry have resulted in mass human suffering (see former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, etc.) Maybe it takes seeing it happen to the country we know best to wake up Americans. And homeless kids in this country are not science fiction.Gus, the oldest one, is a white kid who aspires to be a sumo wrestler. His girlfriend Maude is a black teenager who is the mother figure of the family the kids form. The youngest, Gladys, is an electronics whiz, cracking phone cards. They meet up with Walter, a cross-dressing enigma. Their initial goal is to get to the home of Carlos, a family man who used to pay Gus for sex. And they would also like to escape Colorado, and hope they could be resettled in Eastern Europe (a nice reversal.) Even the simulation of the nuclear family turns out to be inherently rotten, and its symbols must ultimately be destroyed.Comparisons to Samuel R. Delany's "Dhalgren," another story of alternate family structures set in a post-apocalyptic city, are inevitable. This book even has a somewhat similar circular structure, with parallel events in the first and last chapter. But while Delany's autumnal city is in a sense a utopia, this one is not.Mike Baker
This is a good book. Both of Deran's book's are good.Mary
All-too-credible chaos in uncomfortably familiargeography and urban settings, set to insidiouslyeffective chapter headings--Mantovani, Arthur Fiedler, Bert Kaempfert?? Kids in improvisedfamilies holding out the hope that the rumorsare true and Japan is really sending some loadsof food for Christmas. The pivot point of theaxis of evil has settled close to home.