Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America
A Novel of the Digital Revolution
Damien Lincoln Ober
- 336 Pages
- January 2, 2018
- ISBN: 9781597809191
- Imprint: Night Shade Books
- Trim Size: 5.5in x 8.25in
Gore Vidal’s Burr meets Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in this blazingly original alt- history that weaves twenty-first century technology into a saddle-punk retelling of the American Revolution.
It is 1777, in a colonial America where the internet, social media, and ubiquitous electronic communications are fully woven into the fabric of society. Hours after a top-secret Congressional sub-committee uploads the Articles of Confederation, a mysterious internet plague breaks loose in the cloud, killing any user who accesses a networked device. Seven in ten Americans are dead, the internet is abandoned. 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 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 Founding Fathers code a new error-proof operating system designed to stabilize the cloud and ensure everlasting American prosperity.
Not everyone is happy with the new format. 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 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 . . .
“An elaborate reimagination of history . . . wildly imaginative.”—Publishers Weekly
“One of the most bizarre novels I’ve ever read, and one of the most original. . . . brings together history, technology, and dream logic; the end result is something wholly familiar and utterly unsettling, a trip into the past that simultaneously rewires the future.”—Vol.1 Brooklyn, reviewed by Tobias Carroll
“This debut alternate history offers an intriguing look at our country’s founding through the lens of technology. The twists will keep readers engrossed to the end.” —Library Journal
“Perhaps the best recommendation anyone can make for the book is this: in the tradition of the best science fiction writing, Ober’s work forces the reader to think. . . . It also begs the audience to dwell upon the future course of an experiment in democracy of which they are very much a part—if they choose.”—Jim Higgins, American Book Review
“Damien Ober gives us a new kind of fictional history here, one that is as fanciful and exuberant as a Garcia-Marquez novel.”—T.C. Boyle, author of The Harder They Come and Road to Wellville
“Not sure if I read a book or had a manic episode while watching the History Channel, but either way, it was incredible and I feel absolutely amazing.”—Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day
“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
“American writers working on such a grand canvas are as scarce as hen's teeth. For sheer mischief, erudition and inventiveness Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America sits quite comfortably on the shelf alongside David Foster Wallace, William Vollmann, Thomas Pynchon, the Barthelme brothers . . . all the terrible children of Swift and Stearne. It makes me laugh. It makes me sympathetic to people I despise, even though I still despise them. While many of the characters would cry sedition, I like to think Dr. Franklin is somewhere having a chuckle.”—Robert Olmstead, author of Coal Black Hors e
“Doctor Benjamin Franklin's Dream America is a new kind of literary SF. It takes aspects of two historical moments, centuries apart, and overlays them, energizing history and making us question our notions of what America is. Add to that aliens, sea monsters, and we have a quirky, funny, but ultimately sobering nightmare.”—Brian Evenson, author of the Dead Space series
“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, author of Forest of Fortune
“Strangely moving and hugely compelling. . . . Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America shattered my thinking as to what a novel can be and do.”—Jim Ruland, author of Forest of Fortune
“A brilliant, wackadoo novel about our founding fathers and the internet, with some aliens and witches and a vampiric sea monster thrown in for good measure. Ambitious, strange, death-stamped, and hilarious—-this is the kind of book that makes you realize how rare it is to read something entirely new and unique.”—Stephanie Cha, author of Dead Soon Enough
“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.”—David Vichnar, Equus Press