Every now and then, a book becomes the catalyst for a social movement. Off all the books on the same theme, the author somehow manages to bring together the threads of compelling narrative and graphic imagery that captures the growing tide of moral outrage and gives it shape and voice. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man. Upton Sinclair’s the Jungle. Could Rob Reid’s Year Zero join this mighty literary pantheon, rousing the American people against the forces of copyright maximalism that keep trying to choke our freedom of expression?
Almost certainly not. But even if Year Zero won’t motivate you to join the U.S. Pirate Party, it will entertain you while educating you about how messed up our system of copyright law (and patent) have become, and introduce you to the stable of music labels, lawyers and lobbyists who work so hard to make it that way. Reid provides a satire in the science fiction/fantasy tradition of Gulliver’s Travels and Idiocracy that will make you laugh and wince at the same time. Those already all too familiar with the current sorry state of affairs will have the additional fun of guessing the real identities of Reid’s thinly disguised characters.