vigilance

five stars black
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Publisher: Tor.com
Pages: 208
Release Date: January 29, 2019

Robert Jackson Bennett’s Vigilance is a dark science fiction action parable from an America that has permanently surrendered to gun violence.

The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.

The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.

Vigilance is a terrifying novella of a not so distant future United States of America so wrapped up in guns and violence that they’ve dissociated from the world stage and created a stage of their own chockfull of gratuitous gun violence.

Vigilance follows John McDean as he orchestrates the next Vigilance, a reality game show where shooters are introduced into a real life setting and the survivors win cash prizes. Everything about the Vigilance is controlled, monitored, and analyzed for data and revenue. Readers get up close and personal with the work that goes into running a Vigilance and the propaganda that sustains it.

“More than anyone alive, John McDean knows America isn’t a place you live in – not anymore. It’s a place you survive.”

Vigilance is a novella waiting to be dissected and compared to real world affairs and people. It’s disgusting how the actions of the characters closely mirror some real-life television personalities. Vigilance takes the alt-right side of the gun control debate to the extreme and delivers a terrifying speculative fiction novella.

“A firearm should provoke analysis and thought, not action. Or that’s it should be at least. But thinking’ is something more and more people seem goddamn reluctant to do these days.”

I’d liken Vigilance to The Hunger Games, especially the way the theatrical adaptations portrayed the media coverage of the event and the behind the scenes control the gamemakers exerted. Except, Vigilance is violence and sex on a different level that may make some readers feel uncomfortable.

Overall, Vigilance is a must read for everyone. Bennett takes a magnifying glass to the gun control debate that shows readers a potential future that doesn’t look so unrealistic if you’re keyed into current political events.

Have you read Vigilance? What did you think?

Haven’t read anything my Bennett? Check out my reviews for some of his work!