I've heard this book marketed as the "1984" of the new millennium. Given the subject matter and the important message it seeks to communicate - it well *could* have been, but inexperienced writing and a story that ends far too abruptly will keep it from capturing that title. And I make that statement as someone who regards "1984" as one of my all time favorite books.
While Beck's skill at novel writing has definitely improved since "Overton Window", this story just doesn't quite "make it." There are many repetitive dialog devices used over-and-over again, often times within the same couple of sentences and to my great annoyance. It was to the point of becoming predictable - and that is not a good thing. The main character, which we understand to be a young woman, is rendered to be a bit too immature given her harsh living conditions to be believable. Imagine you took a 17 year old spoiled American mall rat and dumped her in the middle of a dystopian nightmare which, she supposedly grew-up in. Doesn't really work, does it?
The atmospherics of the "compound" and the eco-Nazi lifestyle of the citizens was developed much better than most of the characters, and one can almost see and feel what life would be like living under such conditions. Moreover, because this story is essentially an extrapolated trajectory of the hopes and aspirations of the more extreme elements of the "Green" movement, it provides an additional source of realism and does a decent job of communicating its primary warnings.
The story is very short, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but in this case I don't feel that it works. Did the authors run out of plot ideas, or are we simply being setup for a serialized story? Whatever the reason, I came away feeling a bit "jipped" - not so much because I needed a neatly packaged closure to the story, but because I felt it failed somehow to deliver that essential existential "kick" that the "1984 of the new millennium" should.
I'd say Agenda 21 is a decent read with a very important and timely message. If you are curious to understand what the real Agenda 21 is and how it could potentially play out into the future, this isn't a half bad introduction and it is at least, entertaining and not dry.
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