I received a promotional copy of this title through my work at Audible, I will be promoting it there but only because I believe in the merits of the work not because I was compensated beyond my standard compensation at Audible or otherwise directed to do so.
Infomocracy: A Novel, a political techno thriller from Malka Older tells the story of a world engaged in semi-experimental form of global government called micro-democracy. That is, every local population of 100,000 is split into centenals and each centenal has its own, often corporate branded, government. Each centenal runs the gamut on all areas of social policy, from the Philip Morris centenal that offers subsidies on cigarettes, to others that focus on security, or freedom of choice (free2be), etc.
This hyper-specific form of government is made possible in large part to the Google-esque corporation called Information. In Older’s cyber-punky internet-of-things information dream world, every experience is streamlined (from paying for things, to navigating, to voting). Election trends change drastically and quickly, because they can be measured at major scale almost immediately.
The book focuses on a global election for the supermajority that happens every 10 years, and as the story pans out Older jumps between any one of a handful of characters on different sides of political campaign process.
Older’s is a particularly original concept that sacrifices cumbersome character development for action-packed data slinging, and political campaigning. One part House of Cards, one part Newsroom, and one part Blade Runner, Older demonstrates quickly her knowledge of public policy and the nuances of governments as systems of bureaucracy.
Sound boring? It very well could be but I found myself, especially towards the last 100 pages, surprisingly infatuated with the idea of fast-paced data management. Pivot tables! YES. Well, no, more like – news feeds!
Older’s characters are not incredibly dynamic, or anything more than standard Sci-Fi protagonists (this isn’t A Room With a View). Even so, the stakes never felt low and I was heavily invested in reading this book to the end. It is a well-written book, and an interesting political thought-experiment.
Purchase the title here: Infomocracy: A Novel