a novel, by Damien Ober
ISBN 978-0-9571213-8-6. Paperback. 250pp. Publication date: August 2014. Equus Press: London. Price: € 8.00 (not including postage).
1777. Colonial America. A year after uploading the Declaration of Independence, a mysterious internet plague has broken loose in the cloud, killing any user who accesses a networked device. Seven in ten Americans are dead. The internet is abandoned. The entire continental militia has vanished. Seizing the moment, the British take control of New York and Philadelphia, scattering what little remains of the rebellion.
Just when all seems lost, George Washington reappears from off-the-grid to pin the remnants of the British army at Yorktown. Independence is won, but with the countryside in ruins and internet commerce impossible, the former colonies teeter on the brink of collapse. Meeting in secret, a faction of the Signers of the Declaration code a new error-proof operating system, designed to stabilize the cloud and ensure ever-lasting American prosperity.
Believing the draconian regulations of the new OS a betrayal of the hard-fought revolution, Thomas Jefferson organizes a feisty, small-government opposition to fight the overreach of Washington’s Federalist administration. Their most valuable weapon in the struggle to “save the ideals of the Revolution” is Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America, a new open-source social networking portal which will revolutionize representative government, return power to the people, and make Congress and the Presidency irrelevant…
“Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America is as original as they come – an audacious, exuberantly imaginative novel about freedom and technology and the sacrifices each take from the other. Damien Ober is a writer to be reckoned with.”—Scott O’Connor (author of Half World and Untouchable)
“Ober’s mix of heady ideas and gorgeous prose make this a uniquely compelling debut. Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America is nothing less than an alternate history of the birth of the United States that hints at our coming demise.”—Jim Ruland, San Diego City Beat
“Ober has mapped the modern superstitious US onto the nation’s beginnings complete with vituperative two-party system controlled by plutocrats (now corporations), history replaced by acceptable mythos (sometimes dependent on choice of party), and with modern communications systems providing impossible forms of social networking in which people live without having to experience reality first hand.”—Jim Chaffee, The Drill Press
“Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America is no political tract or history lesson or moralist dystopia or media analysis; or, rather, it is all of these and more – it is fiction writing at its best. And what remains after the excitement of the storyline and the provocation of the thinking have subsided, is the simple poignancy of the fifty-six death-scenes, all the more moving for their simplicity and matter-of-factness. As when William Williams thinks, ‘It was good, to spend a little time in this world, I guess’ (205). It’s so good, to spend a little time in the world of this book. I’m sure.”—David Vichnar, Equus Press