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Against the Machine: Luddites by Brian Van Norman
Review Date : May 16, 2020

A story that is intelligently plotted, expertly written, and that has a huge potential to seduce fans of historical novels, Against the Machine: Luddites by Brian Van Norman plunges the reader into the period in which the Napoleonic Wars took place and explores a historical phenomenon that is scarcely discussed in books, the threat that the luddites posed to the industrial revolution. While this is a novel that is well-researched with fascinating and colorful historical hints, it also explores the reality of change and how it affects those who do not stand to benefit much from it.

The industrial revolution is gaining grounds in Britain and with machines quickly replacing skilled labor. The mill-masters are laying off workers, replacing them with machines, a situation that doesn’t sit well with George Mellor, a boy whose growth has been precocious and whose leadership skills come just as naturally. George has known what it is like to have nothing and his hardship has left a great impact on him. And he is not alone. His friends Big Will Thorp, Thomas Smith, and Sam are as disgruntled with the situation as is anyone losing work to machines. They start a revolution to disrupt the revolution, attacking machines and even getting involved with murder. But how far can they go before they are stopped?

Against the Machine: Luddites is a novel that is as relevant today as it was during the Napoleonic period, a story that brilliantly depicts what happens when technology replaces human skill. Contemporary readers can easily read the message of this book into their own experience with technology, including the AI tools and robots that have stolen work from many hands. Brian Van Norman weaves an unsettling sense of uncertainty into the story and brings to life a social situation that punctuated life in a specific moment in history. The characters are lovely, the prose exciting, featuring terrific descriptions and intelligently crafted dialogues. The humor isn’t lacking and the accent of the characters is wonderfully captured in the dialogues. Real as all-get out, from scenes in the mill that depict the condition of workers to the rowdy clash against machines.

Christian Fernandez
  • Pub Date : April 1, 2020
  • Page count : 412
  • ISBN : 77183479X
  • Publisher : Guernica Editions Inc

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