Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin & Eytan Kollin

I like the book though I don't necessarily agree with its politics. The basic premise of the book is a self made billionaire sees that the system is on the verge of collapse, has terminal lung cancer, so he makes a self contained cryogenic unit and buries it in a mountain where it lies for several centuries. What remains is a perfect libertarian paradise where the government magically works perfectly, there is no tax and the government can provide no service that is not also competed against in the free market. There is no war, little crime and plenty of food. Medicine has removed all sickness and people essentially live forever.

There is only one fly in the ointment. Anyone who is born automatically has themselves incorporated, with their parents getting 20% and the government getting 5%. Beyond that, almost everyone has to trade between 6-14% to receive an education from a university, which also owns a part of you until you pay it off or buy your stock back. Reaching a majority, and thus controlling your own destiny, is the goal of essentially everyone in this civilization.

Thus when our billionaire wakes up, the corp that finds him wants to lay claim to him and incorporate him. Through a bit of trickery, he manages to get free and thus a massive legal battle ensues wherein he is trying to keep his soul and not become incorporated.

The book does indeed feel Heinleinian, and I like Heinlein, though the background government sure isn't Starship Troopers that's for sure. The best part of the book is the struggle for individuality and the right to be free, despite blatant attempts by the authors to turn the non billionaires who like the idea into cartoon characters.

David Weber does the same thing in the Honor Harrington books, but does so with so much class that you don't mind. That, and the main bad guys AREN'T cartoon characters. Overall its a good read, but given how good this idea is and how ham fisted they were with their politics, I'm betting I won't be as entertained by their next book.

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