Digital dystopia

27 07 2019

Perfidious Albion by Sam Byers


In Edmundsbury, a small town in east England, fear and loathing are on the rise. It is the near future; Brexit has happened and the ramifications are real. Grass-roots right-wing political party ‘England Always’ are fomenting hatred. The residents of a failing housing estate are being manipulatively cleared from their homes. A multinational tech company is making inroads into the infrastructure. Just as social tensions appear to reach crisis point, masked men begin a series of ‘disruptions’, threatening to make internet histories public, asking the townspeople ‘what don’t you want to share?’


The setting of the very near future feels reasonably credible but you suspect is going to look rather dated quite soon as the nightmare reality of the UK today overtakes the dystopian landscape depicted here. Social media features significantly and is probably the reason this will feel out of date quite quickly. It’s a pretty pacy read but none of the characters is particularly likeable and it’s hard to care that much as things slowly fall apart.

Not wholly unenjoyable though although with one of the reviews describing this as being “like an episode of Black Mirror as scripted by a “woke” Martin Amis” you know it really is not going to be great.

And it really does have an extremely poor and immensely irritating ending.



One response

3 08 2019
More than Middling | Prole Art Threat

[…] with contemporary and ongoing events in a novel can be challenging (see this recent review of a largely unsuccessful effort) but Coe manages it here with some style. This is the third novel […]

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