Over is a sci-fi novel of big ideas: the scourge on the future by today’s environmental negligence, the effects of biological warfare, even the development of a faster-than-light warp drive that opens the door to a future among the stars.
In this dystopian future, humankind must grapple with the repercussions from a technological advancement that essentially imparts immortality: immortality to a very few. Less than 30,000 of the world’s inhabitants, the privileged class, Overs, and the resentment of the billions of people who don’t fit into that category, aptly named, Unders.
Not only do the Overs have eternal life as their trump card, they also have a lock on the world’s economy, technology, medicine, and the ultimate say on who gets the benefits of their largesse, and who do not. There is even a global robotic “mind” that helps the Overs control every aspect of the planet—and that “mind” secretly gives birth to a “daughter.”
To say that the Overs rule is a benign dictatorship would be putting it mildly.
But the Overs must kowtow to the ruling familias who base their operations from Sri Lanka. These overlords do not respond kindly to threats against their near absolute rule.
Into this frothy brew comes Jaames (cq), a rebel leader in Denver where most of the action takes place; Demetrius, the Over’s boss of bosses for The Americas; and Anika, Demetrius’ comely daughter who has a mind of her own and a relentless and ultimately fatal attraction to Jaames.
Over is not a typical plot-structured, character-driven novel. Curley sets the planet up as the primary character and everything else falls secondary. While this may be jarring to some in regard to traditional plot, characters who are not fully fleshed out, and linking cause and effect in a character-rich and technologically-advanced society, Over stands strong as a powerful read – especially for its meditations on how our actions endanger our planet and our future, and for the author’s take on the upsides and downsides of a benign Immortal dictatorship. There’s much to think about, and no easy answers.
Curley plans at least two more books based on the plot and characters in Over and we wait with anticipation as to what this master-geo-political-environmentalist author comes up with. In a world where the rich obtain immortality, a forbidden love can either bridge the gap of unimaginable inequity or drive the disparaging classes even farther apart. A science-fiction novel with an earthly conscious.