Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Patriotism and Capitalism and Robots
Life, Liberty. . . and all the rest presents a series of satirical episodes in which newcomers to America struggle to assimilate into the local culture. Adopting the way of life in their new country is especially difficult because the newcomers are robots.
The story opens at a futuristic amusement park, where robotic clones of the U.S. Presidents room together in a glossy mock-up of the White House. The robot roomies are less interested in educating the public on the history of the presidency than they are in quarreling among themselves about old grudges. The exhibit, contrary to the expectations of visitors, has more in common with Real World than Westworld.
The robots, their identities evolving and their ambitions growing, conspire to defect from the exhibit's controlled confines to explore diverse places across the United States. It is an adventurous and humorous struggle that emerges as the robots establish themselves in the flawed, troubled nation their venerable prototypes helped to create. Revealed during the course of the story are fascinating facts about the actual presidents - their quirks, their triumphs, their scandals, their loves. The book plumbs the depths of the presidents for comic possibilities and also seeks out their moral core. It is America, itself, that is ultimately examined through its most compelling leaders.
My first book, Lloyd Hamilton: Poor Boy Comedian of Silent Cinema, was published by McFarland in 2009. My second book, The Funny Parts, was sold to McFarland last year and is due to be published in the near future.
The book is recommended to readers who enjoy offbeat, mixed-genre novels and should particularly appeal to fans of the satirical science fiction and fantasy stories of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, John F. Moore, Jasper Fforde, Robert Asprin or Rudy Rucker.