|Moxyland is Lauren Beukes first
novel, and the first release by Angry Robot Books and as such is an interesting harbinger
of the intentions of this company. The novel is also the first overtly South African SF
novel I have read.
Moxyland is set in Capetown, South Africa in
the not too distant future. The country has millions of disease orphans (from AIDS and
newer diseases) and economic migrants orphans whose education makes then
indentured, if on occasion highly paid, workers for the companies who train them; and
migrants who need a visa to stay or a deported to poverty trap countries north of South
Africa. The novel doesnt dwell on the grim reality of this sort of life, but on
those who are trying to subvert the corporate welfare lifestyle this creates: either by
encouraging greater self-sufficiency for the migrants, performing industrial espionage to
get a new job and not pay off the previous employer, live as an independent artist, or as
a party animal. The Capetown of this book is a fascinating, sprawling, vibrant city that
is attracting millions to work there. Life in this city is good.
The book is very tongue in cheek as the subversives get subverted and industrial
experiments go awry.
I enjoyed this book and its stick poking attitudes. I will note that this book was read
by a book group I am involved with, where the books reception was mixed with some
liking it and others not. Not great literature, but a fun read nonetheless.