Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 149 pages
Rating: 3 stars
Publication Date: May 24th 2018
A politician addicted to dating apps embarks on an existential odyssey to save democracy from being swiped away.
In the aftermath of a continental civil-war, nation-states have collapsed, the European Union™ holds on, preventing anarchy.
Bastian Balthazar Bux is a leading member of The Federation®, the European network of civil society and local governments. Bastian has just been unexpectedly dumped through an app, the BreakupShop™ service. Heavy hearted, he just wants to drink, get on with work and forget his romantic woes.
However, he discovers that Nathan Ziggy Zukowsky is planning to sell Plebiscitum®, a dating-style app that is meant to replace elections with a simple swipe, at the same conference he is invited to attend in Chile. Haunted by the ghosts of his recent relationship, he finds himself without his all-important Morph® phone, just a few hours before embarking on his trip to try to save democracy.
Set in the aftermath of a continental civil war, Disco Sour follows Bastian, a member of the Federation, an European network that holds the world together.
In the opening scene, we learn that Bastian was dumped through the Breakupshop®, an app that sends you a notification when you are dumped while blocking all information about your former partner so that you can’t contact this person anymore.
While being dumped is never nice, being dumped through an app is even worse. Devastated, Bastian drinks a bit more than he should a few nights before the most important event of his carrer. Indeed, he has to present the last important project of the Federation, a project that should change the way young people interact with political parties. However, to do so, Bastian has to fly to Chile. The only problem is that, when he wakes up, he is without his Morph phone and very much late to catch his plane. He can’t contact his colleages and he is stuck on the wrong continent.
Start a journey where Bastian discovers that the loss of his phone probably wasn’t a coincidence. It was meant to stop him from reaching the place of the conference where one of his rivals want to present a new app that will put all of the Federation works to waste…
I have mixed feelings about this book. I was very impressed by a couple of things and quite let down by other but let’s start with the positive.
The worldbuilding was fantastic and very detailed which was especially impressive considering how short this book is. We slowly learn about the civil war, how it came to be and how it completely reshaped the world. Through Bastian’s quest to reach the conference in Santiago, he jumps from airport to airport and we are able to see the repercussions of the war in different States. Countries are shattered in economic zones, Paris isn’t part of France anymore, it is now P.A.R.I.S.®, an independent area completely closed off from the rest of the country.
I found those parts of the book fascinating, especially when it focused on the succession of events that led to the start of the conflict. It felt believable and well-researched.
I also liked to see how the economy and the technology evolved. In this vision of the future, everything is trademarket and almost every interaction is made thanks to apps (even breakups!). Even traders use a Tinder-like app to make financial transactions.
So I found the worldbuilding very successful and engaging. However, even if I enjoyed that aspect, I didn’t connected with this book for a couple of reasons: I had issues with the main character, the plot and the overall writing.
First of all, from the start I couldn’t empathize with Bastian. I found him whiny, very naive and quite childlike. I get that being dumped isn’t nice but he spends way more time thinking about his former partners than about the issues at stake. He is also always horny, and, even when he is in the middle of a important speech, he still manages to be active on Tinder… I just couldn’t bring myself to like him, he couldn’t mention something without linking it to one of his ex.
I also couldn’t picture him as the leader of a serious political organization since for me he acted like a teenager. If I were one of his colleages, I would probably despise him. We learn a bit about one of his co-workers, Sandra, and even if she appeared on less than 10% of the book, I found her to be a way more complex character. I would have loved her to be the main character because she does all of the cool stuff in this novel.
However, I could have looked past Bastian if the plot was interesting but sadly, I found the whole story a bit boring and, if I am honest, quite random. I keep on waiting for the moment something would finally happen but apart from the endless struggles at various airports when he is supposed to save democracy, nothing really happens. Because of that, the resolution felt 1) too easy and 2) absurd.
So yeah, I can’t really recommend this book, the worlbuilding was terrific but I found the rest lacking. To be honest, I would have preferred this book to follow the event of the war from different perspectives all around the world. This would have been a fantastic story and if Porcaro is writing that next, I will be reading it!
The author send me a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.