by Christopher Buckley
In the not-so-distant future, America teeters on the brink of economic disaster as the baby boomers start retiring. Enter beautiful young ex-Army-turned PR flak, coulda-gone-to-Harvard-but-Daddy-spent-the-tuition-money crusading blogger Cassandra, who on her blog suggests that Baby Boomers voluntarily kill themselves for tax breaks, saving Social Security costs. When young people take to the streets, the ineffectual president (who happens to be in cahoots with her father, who is now a software tycoon and party patron) makes her an enemy, as does a TV preacher. But the cause is taken up by a young congressman who shares an eyebrow-raising past with Cassandra, and soon people are starting to talk about actually passing the “Transition” bill into law.
I wasn’t too impressed with the previous Buckley I read, Supreme Courtship, and this book is of about the same weight. Buckley’s satire, as I said about that book, is the toothless satire of the contented conservative shooting blanks at straw men. The fact that his heroine must be “hot” and blonde “with liquid, playful eyes and lips” shows how concerned he is with serious ideas. In over 300 pages, none of the characters seem very interesting, and the dialogue at times is positively ridiculous; his ideas about software are equally out of touch. His scenarios are mildly amusing but not actually comic, and he has no real point to make about Washington, just a modern modest proposal. Light, frothy, somewhat arch, but it lacks punch.