American War – Omar El Akkad
A civil war, crippled infrastructure, rampant corruption, random drone strikes, factional in-fighting and suicide bombers groomed from the ranks of despairing youth.
Such a scenario would normally pass for a despotic regime in the Middle East, but Egyptian-born author Akkad flips it to American soil to show how divisive ideologies and misguided policies create the perfect seedbed for terrorism to grow.
The catalyst for war is fossil fuel use in a country where rising sea levels have forced mass migrations from both coasts.
A bill to ban their use throughout the US is championed by the president and leads to his assassination in 2073 by a secessionist suicide bomber.
The country splits between North and South, Blue and Red, with new reasons for animosity layered onto historic hatreds.
Akkad ups the ante still further, stripping away veneers of civilization to imagine state-sponsored biological genocide, the release of a virus and the murder of 100m people.
If you think that’s unlikely, the world’s emerging superpower is the Bouazizi Empire, a conglomeration of former Arab countries who have thrown off their oppressors and joined forces.
They sustain the conflict in America, working both sides of the divide in what one of the regime’s fixers declares to be purely “a matter of self-interest, no more”.
It’s a cynical denouement, showing the US what it’s like to be on the end of its own foreign policies and the cruel consequences of such interventions.
Akkad’s dystopian vision invites the country to bridge its venomous political divide and return to some kind of consensus politics – or face an horrendous future.