2015-01-26

Departure by A G Riddle

This is probably one of the oddest stories I've ever read.

A billionaire sets out to save the world from hunger, famine and poverty and does so* by creating a foundation which at its center has the 100 most brilliant minds in the world.

In order to ensure the foundation's continued benevolence he makes himself and his 99 fellows immortal.

To the world, the foundation holds out the reward of being inducted among the 100, for working real hard and achieving great things. A reward that hinges on one of the 100 giving his or her spot up, which seems super unlikely since they were so concerned with the integrity of the foundation that they made themselves immortal to begin with. But apparently it happens and there are nominations and voting.

And for the rest of the world: the apparent demise of democracy. I mean the foundation doesn't exactly run the world, except it does.

So. Woops.

But an oligarchy based on meritocracy, sure, I can see how that's better, especially since it's for humanity's own good.

Our visionary's only regret is the plague unleashed when the immortality drug falls into the wrong hands and then wipes out the entire human race.

All he wanted was to save his own son's life. He didn't count on human nature, the urge of the 100 to persevere their own way of life by refusing to induct the billionaire's drunken failure of a son among themselves, the greed of the thieves he employed to steal the drug... the fact that someone would modify the drug and turn it into a plague**.

Maintaining moral high ground, because wanting to currupt his own system by saving his son's life while letting everyone else's sons die is apparently not flaw of human nature, our billionaire devices a plan to save the world† which involves time travel to grab humans from the past to use them as Guinea pigs for a vaccine for the plague.

Oh, and also to bring the son whom he failed to save (because voting!) from the past into the present.

Explaining what saving the world means seems like too much of a spoiler. You're just going to have to read the book.

And yes, there was a control group. For the plague vaccine. They all died.

After the first part of the book -- this is actually the bulk of the story, I think, during which Nick (main character) struggles to rescue the passengers of a plane crash†† -- the human Guinea pig thing feels weird.

But the weirdness actually starts when Nick unceremoniously leave the plane crash survivors to die and the story jumps the shark with Lost-like dexterity.‡

I haven't finished the book yet.
Does Nick have a sudden OMG, The Founding Fathers moment while the female protagonist, Harper, bats her eye lashes at him‡‡?

Is this story in fact a deep dive into the very heart of morality and stuff?

I'm breathless.


* Since the governments that are afraid to lose control over their citizenry, because the foundation is so cool, are aging war against it and there are riots as the result of the immortality drug getting stolen Peace On Earth seems like a bit of a stretch.

It's also super weird to steal natural resources and land and an entire ocean
from other countries to create a new a New America.

** Why?!

† !

†† It crashed because it was brought through time.

‡ Stonehenge?

‡‡ It's totally not sexist because Harper's a really talented writer at the very heart of the story and, AND! there is the super smart (frigid) female scientist who invents the immortality drug and who is an inspiration to girls everywhere.

AND! the books begins from Harper's perspective.

AND! She's in there, in the plane, rescuing passengers GI Jane style with the guys.


Yours sincerely, The Evil Albino.

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