In the Future, Will We All Be Geniuses?

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Tiffany Kelly reviews Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway:

Surprisingly, Doctorow doesn’t see his work as a dystopian novel. In fact, he thinks it’s precisely the opposite. Despite depicting a world that is changed by our own technological advancements and ideologies, Doctorow is optimistic about future generations of humans. Walkaway follows characters who do just that—they walk away from society in search of something better. As the literary world keeps churning out dystopian novels, it’s a relief that they’re not all doom and gloom.

I guess it’s a matter of taste whether you find Doctorow’s future world dystopian or not. But it’s sure as hell not jetpacks and vacations on Mars. And the inflation rate! Holy cow.

However, there was one part of the novel that sure was utopian. It was also the part that bugged me the most. As near as I can tell, there’s barely a single character in the entire Walkaway society with an IQ less than 150 or so. OK, maybe 120. How did that happen? What happened to, you know, all the ordinary people? What’s the point of depicting a near-future society where you pretend that the rabble no longer exists and everyone is a genius?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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