4 out of 4 stars
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World, Incorporated is a dystopian thriller novel. In this fictional future, the world’s governments handled the economy so poorly that the planet fell into disarray. To bring the planet back to order and avoid constant war and starvation, super corporations such as World, Inc. take over as the governing body of every country. These organizations provide sustenance, healthcare, media, and employment in exchange for brand loyalty.
The story centers around corporation operative Agent Sliver, who takes care of any threats to the super corporations’ power and influence. Agent Sliver reports to the CEO of World, Inc. and provides his services in exchange for a special drug and unlimited access to any supplies he needs to complete his missions. The list of supplies includes an airship named the Chrome Wind, and its artificial intelligence persona named Franklin.
During one of his missions, Agent Sliver takes a young woman named Kelly abroad his ship. Kelly reads through a series of archived news clips outlining the economic spiral of 2018, the futile attempts of the world’s governments to save it, the resulting civil chaos, and the rise of the super corporations as a necessity to restore order. Since Kelly grew up with little contact with the outside world, she must inevitably come to a realization of what the world has become.
The dystopian universe that author Tom Gariffo creates is immensely detailed and imaginative, while still keeping roots in today’s socioeconomic environment. Gariffo makes it so easy to visualize how the world could change from what we see today to what Agent Sliver experiences on his missions. I also enjoyed the creative use of formatting and the smooth transitions between using the news articles and the narrative format.
The character development of Agent Sliver is well-done. The author poses a series of interesting questions for the reader through the consciousness of Agent Sliver, such as how much the end justifies the means and the price of loyalty to someone who has saved your life. Unfortunately, Agent Sliver’s character development was far ahead of any of the other side characters. I would have especially liked to see more character development for Kelly, as she was the only female character in the story.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrilling action or science fiction. Additionally, I recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves enthralled with daily news and enjoys thinking through “what if” situations. However, if anyone has ever told you that you are too obsessed with clicking news articles or if thinking about potential dystopian futures stresses you out, you will likely not enjoy reading this book. Given the well-developed setting and fascinating story, I give this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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