If you enjoyed Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World, or even Pixar’s Wall-e there is something for you in Nate Ragolia’s The Retroactivist. Throw in a bit of nuanced Stepford Wives and a splash Bellamy’s Looking Backward and you have a sense of the novel: a speculative fiction piece focused on what truly qualifies a society as utopian and a person as happy.
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Set in the year 2087, the government has solved hunger, illness, social strife and all major components of societal duress. Citizens travel the world via tube cars and enjoy cocktails made in convenient replicators. Sexual gratification is omnipresent and all activities are scheduled and paid for by the flick of a wifi wristband. The primary goal of citizens – enjoy life.
Society is ‘perfected’, yet perfection leaves main character Reid Rosales unfulfilled.
Akin to Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, Reid finds an underground sect of fellow Citizens with a shared longing for the past. Reid decides to eschew the safety of perfection for the excitement of uncertainty. He leaves his sultry girlfriend, a cush apartment and a life of leisure in the United Sociocracy of the Americas and immerses himself in the philosophy, economy and society of the 20th century. His newly acquired cohorts band together and take it upon themselves to be ‘retroactivists’.
Ragolia has a knack for presenting the fantastic as believable, unfolding a unique perspective on what it means to be genuinely fulfilled, not just comfortable. I have a sense if Margaret Atwood and Ayn Rand sat down for an afternoon of Chardonnay, they would have lots to say about this novel. Ragolia also gives the reader a treat by nestling into the novel subtle references to the 20th Century that if you are on your toes you will read with a smirk. The Retroactivist reads quickly has a steady pace and is a tribute to what Indie Authors have to offer. Kudos to Nate Ragolia. Buy it!
Review by Josh Jones
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