Amar Raja Rao, By Wauhini Vara
The basis of Wauhini’s first novel, “The Immortal King Rao”, is as simple as that: a young woman named Athena, secretly raised on an island in Puget Sound by an elderly father who injected her with a genetic code. Allowing her to access the entire Internet and all her memories, she finds herself in a prison bearing her mother’s name, insisting that she awaits a verdict by algorithm for a crime she did not commit. While she waits, she writes a lengthy self-defense addressing the mega-corporation’s shareholders who have replaced the U.S. government, indeed all governments, such as “shareholder” with the word “citizen” with capital “s”.
Let me try it again. The basis of “The Immortal King Rao” is as simple as it gets: a boy named Raja Rao was born into a large Dalit Indian family who got a place in the middle class through his shrewd investment in coconut farming. King is sent to study engineering in the United States, where he becomes the chief programmer and public face of an early computer company, becoming a lifestyle brand, a global superpower, Eclipse Gates, Jobs et al. After a spectacular fall from Grace, King retreats to a small island where his daughter, Athena, plays the role of Miranda for his Prospero: the ward, the caretaker, the secret sharer. He hopes for a day when he can correct the mistakes he has made, as well as those he feels are committed against him.
Once more, with emotion. The basis of “The Immortal King Rao” is as simple as it gets: an event called Hothouse Earth, the ultimate game of climate collapse, slowly destroying human civilization and possibly all life on Earth. But the idea is too big and scary not to deal with anyone, so they don’t. The shareholder government continues to use social capital ratings to keep its shareholders working, using and posting. Meanwhile, in the Blanklands – a formally recognized autonomous zone beyond the control of the shareholder – those who call themselves Exes have achieved something similar to a group of workers in functional chaos-communism la Prudn. Exes believes that as the contradictions in the shareholder system become harder to ignore, more people will accept their model. Unfortunately, as long as everyone turns to their city on the hill, there is a good chance that the hill will be underwater.
At 370 pages, “Rao” is on the short side for a multi-generational family saga and comprehensive social epic. (Not to mention the scientific content, although the novel is purely science-fiction as it involves some fictional science.) , Nothing to say about old, baggy monsters like “a decent boy” or “independent people” , “Rao” In heavy people it may initially look like welterweight. Don’t be silly