Charlie Says’ A Brief History of the Future (The Reader Discretion Advised Series): Vol.1. The Dolphin Dies is a world-creation combining fantasy and science fiction. But what makes A Brief History special is its playful narrator’s point of view, shamelessly blowing holes in the 4th wall with a linguistic bazooka. In this book, in between longs stretches of 3rd person narrative, the narrator takes the reader’s hand and walks with them down the book’s own yellow brick road.
As the title suggests, A Brief History is about some time in the future, where technology, in opposition to our experience, has become magic and regressed, while the act of learning itself, through reading, has become a terror and a crime. At the same time, we get hints that this society is very old, its inhabitants the descendants or remains of a much more advanced and enlightened culture. In fact, A Brief History hints quite heavily that the story does not take place on Earth, and the book is dealing with the end stage of some kind of failed colonization.
There are lots of characters in A Brief History, but even so, each character is its own person, with quirks and goals unique to each individual. Even those characters who only exist to round out the tableau of a party are given ample time for us to learn about them — a practice that tends to slow the narrative once or twice.
Reading A Brief History was a delight. Says’ grabs the reader’s attention straight away by kicking in the 4th wall like the Kool-Aid Man, then proceeds to build a unique world before the reader’s eyes, pausing occasionally to make sure you know the narrator struggles with the effort of providing the story. My only serious complaint is, after spending so many pages in this world, I have to read the next volume in order to resolve the story lines. Still, I will be reading the next book, and I expect you will want to as well after reading A Brief History.
I highly recommend.