The Free People's Village

English language

Published July 29, 2023 by Levine Querido.

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3 stars (4 reviews)

In an alternate 2020 timeline, Al Gore won the 2000 election and declared a War on Climate Change rather than a War on Terror. For twenty years, Democrats have controlled all three branches of government, enacting carbon-cutting schemes that never made it to a vote in our world. Green infrastructure projects have transformed U.S. cities into lush paradises (for the wealthy, white neighborhoods, at least), and the Bureau of Carbon Regulation levies carbon taxes on every financial transaction.

English teacher by day, Maddie Ryan spends her nights and weekends as the rhythm guitarist of Bunny Bloodlust, a queer punk band living in a warehouse-turned-venue called “The Lab” in Houston’s Eighth Ward. When Maddie learns that the Eighth Ward is to be sacrificed for a new electromagnetic hyperway out to the wealthy, white suburbs, she joins “Save the Eighth,” a Black-led organizing movement fighting for the neighborhood. At first, she’s only …

2 editions

More Bleak than I Expected

4 stars

Despite being set in an alternate history, this book really felt like an extremely realistic depiction of everything going on with the left these days. It's pretty brutal and sad, honestly. I really wanted it to end on some utopian note, but it ends in an extremely probable way instead. Maybe that's more important.

Hard to get into, but finished strong

3 stars

Going into the book, it was really hard to read the story through Maddie's voice. She was incredibly annoying, and reminded me a lot of being in university and meeting white college students who would "invade" local organizing spaces and center movements around themselves. I guess in a lot of ways, she reminded me of a younger version of myself that didn't know how to navigate my (relative) privilege in spaces, and maybe I'm embarrassed for that version of my self.

But somehow this story ended up resonating with me, and revealing a lot of the lessons that need to be learned if you want to try to make change in the world. This book felt very much grounded in Sim's own experiences in organizing, especially how large mass movements can be breeding grounds for conflicts between different (and often legitimate) tactics and approaches.

I think the book ends on …

not what i was expecting

3 stars

Content warning Spoilers?

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rated it

1 star


  • Fiction, science fiction, general