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Getting Back Kindle Edition
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A strange mix of post-apocalyptic survival tale and dystopian satire on corporate excess it doesn't really work on any front. The survival-against-the-elements part feels wholly derivative; from the Australian outback setting to the challenges characters are confronted by it all feels like a weak rehash of a Mad Max movie or any other near-future survivalist tale. Equally the satirical elements don't go anywhere new or fresh. The 'giant corporations take over the world and turn people into drones' idea has been done numerous times before, better and far more plausibly.
It doesn't help that the book's characters are either insipid (Daniel) under-developed (Tucker), unsympathetic (Raven) or straight out of central casting (The Warden). Only some reasonably punchy action rescues the book and holds the attention.
Wrapped up with a final 'twist' that you can see coming a mile-off I will chalk 'Getting Back' up to the fact that even the most consistent author produces the odd stinker now and again. Its certainly not enough to put me off tackling the rest of Dietrich's back catalogue.
In the future, the society is one of uniformity, controlled by a company that has merged with the government (or vice versa). Billions of people work for this company, and while some are content, others long for adventure and a way to be individualistic. One of these is Daniel Dyson, the main character of the story, an intelligent young programmer, history major, who is so bored at work he makes catapults to launch love notes to fellow workers and tried to hack into the expense reporting system.
He is "led" by underground internet contacts and a subversive young lady whom he is smitten with named Raven to Outback Adventures, a hidden, shady group that offers to drop people in Australia (which is now completely abandoned and quarantined because of a plague) with the goal of crossing the continent to get to an Exodus point on the far east coast.
To review the rest of the story would be to spoil it. Suffice to say that the trek and adventure lead Daniel, Raven and the others they encounter through a lot of self and cultural examination (has our society evolved the right way? could there have been another way? am I really a non-conformist or just an individualist?)
Some books who take on so many large ideas (world dominated by corporation, plague, conformity vs. individuality, etc.) get lost in the discussion of them, and, while I did find myself scanning through on a couple of pages of arguments about whether the current society was good or bad, for the most part Mr. Dietrich weaves these into an action packed adventure story. It is science fiction in the sense of the events that have happened and that it is placed in the future, but the trek across Australia makes it more of an adventure novel.
Highly reccommended. I go now in search of Mr. Dietrich's other novels.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
'Getting Back' is a future earth that is run by one massive corporation. Every citizen has their own personal niche and doesn't wander outside of it. There's no war, disease, famine, etc., but there are always going to be people that try to jam a square peg in a round hole. These folks that chafe at the status quo are given the opportunity to escape regulated society and take a vacation to the wilds of Australia.
Australia had apparently been decimated by some type of accidental man-made bio engineering experiment that went way wrong, and wiped out all the people on that island continent. Now it was just used to send folks on an outback vacation away from ordered society, or so they were told. In reality, Australia had once again reverted to its original use by decent society; that of wide-open continent-sized penal colony dumping ground.
The people that wanted to get away from society got their wish...now they just have to survive! Great action read and commentary on the human condition. The grass ain't always greener on the other side.
adventure story with a quirky ending - great stuff!