No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Relatives, by George Alex Effinger

Effinger's second novel, from 1973, explores a nihilistic triple view of the world, interweaving three stories with related(?) main characters, all named Ern(e)st Wein(t)raub.

One lives in a future where world government has been centralized under a small cabal of Representatives, who wield absolute power. They announce that the world is coming to an end, and only some people will be awarded tokens to be allowed into the shelters. Our hero sets out into NYC to obtain a token for himself (and maybe his wife). It's interesting to compare this section with Super Sad True Love Story, which also features a troubled love story in an altered NYC under threat.

Another is in the Communist underground in a post-WWI America that is under German dominance (the Allies having lost). He's been sent by the Communist Party to undermine American values, as part of a long-term strategy to foment Revolution.

The last features a expat poet drinking his life away at a bar somewhere in the middle of the Sahara -- something of a preview of the Marid Audran setting, but not in the future.

Despite/Because of its bleak outlook on humanity, I think it's a great little work.

Tags: book

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