2019 Book of the Year Shortlist. Part Eight – Radicalized

I thought I had my shortlist finalised and then along came this superb collection of novellas and threw everything up in the air again. I’ve got some real thinking to do now before I can pick a winner…

Radicalized

Cory Doctorow

Radicalized is a collection of four, fantastic near-future sci-fi novellas each based around a different theme and each one is worth the price of admission.

    • Unauthorized bread looks at how terrible technology and corrupt laws make our devices work against us and keep the poor, poor.
    • Model Minority is a superhero story with a twist and shows how quickly you can go from being one of us to one of them.
    • Radicalized is about a support group for people who have been screwed over by their health insurers that leads people to become terrorists.
    • The Masque of the Red Death follows a bunch of horrible, wealthy preppers in the aftermath of an apocalypse.

Each story is clearly something close to Cory’s heart, and he writes with great passion and optimism for the overall goodness of people. Radicalized was my favourite of the four. Thankfully we still have the NHS in the UK (for now at least), but you can really understand the rage these characters would feel in those circumstances.

While it may seem that each of the stories has a quite depressing theme, like almost all of Cory’s books, the underlying theme is one of the inherent good of (most) people. When the end of the word comes, or people are in trouble they won’t all try to eat each other; instead, they will try to help each other, and we could all do with a bit more of that optimism in our lives. Especially at the moment.

Book of the Year 2019, Cory Doctorow, Radicalized