Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism

( 3 )

Overview

The year is 1911. In Cold Spring Harbour, New York, the newly formed Eugenics Records Office is sending its agents to catalogue the infirm, the insane, and the criminal - with an eye to a cull, for the betterment of all. Near Cracked Wheel, Montana, a terrible illness leaves Jason Thistledown an orphan, stranded in his dead mother's cabin until the spring thaw shows him the true meaning of devastation - and the barest thread of hope. At the edge of the utopian mill town of Eliada, Idaho, Doctor Andrew Waggoner ...

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Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism

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Overview

The year is 1911. In Cold Spring Harbour, New York, the newly formed Eugenics Records Office is sending its agents to catalogue the infirm, the insane, and the criminal - with an eye to a cull, for the betterment of all. Near Cracked Wheel, Montana, a terrible illness leaves Jason Thistledown an orphan, stranded in his dead mother's cabin until the spring thaw shows him the true meaning of devastation - and the barest thread of hope. At the edge of the utopian mill town of Eliada, Idaho, Doctor Andrew Waggoner faces a Klansman's noose and glimpses wonder in the twisting face of the patient known only as Mister Juke. And deep in a mountain lake overlooking that town, something stirs, and thinks, in its way: Things are looking up.
Eutopia follows Jason and Andrew as together and alone, they delve into the secrets of Eliada - industrialist Garrison Harper's attempt to incubate a perfect community on the edge of the dark woods and mountains of northern Idaho. What they find reveals the true, terrible cost of perfection - the cruelty of the surgeon's knife - the folly of the cull - and a monstrous pact with beings that use perfection as a weapon, and faith as a trap.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nickle's bleak debut novel mixes utopian vision, rustic Americana, and pure creepiness. It's 1911 and the future is bright in remote Eliada, Idaho, with its thriving timber business and a free hospital funded by forward-thinking philanthropist Garrison Harper. But Harper and Dr. Nils Bergstrom are disciples of eugenicist Charles Davenport, and their plan to create "a paradise for workers and owners alike" is anything but healthy. The evidence lies within bizarrely made Mister Juke, who heralds the imminent "perfectibility of mankind." Black doctor Andrew Waggoner, whose outsider status and Hippocratic oath make him unwilling to cooperate, and Jason Thistledown, lone survivor of an engineered plague that destroyed Cracked Wheel, Mont., are Eliada's only hope as Mister Juke's alien tribe begins to make terrible plans of its own. Nickle (Monstrous Affections) blends Little House on the Prairie with distillates of Rosemary's Baby and The X-Files to create a chilling survival-of-the-fittest story. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781926851112
  • Publisher: ChiZine Publications
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Pages: 375
  • Sales rank: 1,362,103
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Customer Reviews

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( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good, but could have been better...

    I am not much for historical novels. While a delight for some, the intricacies of days past do not enhance literature for me. The interesting thing about this novel, set in 1911, is that the year has almost no bearing on the story itself. Lanterns are carried and medical equipment is nothing like the beeping plastic robots of today, but other than a tidbit here and there historical setting has no almost bearing on this book.

    I didn't dislike this book, but I couldn't fall in love with it either. The story foundation was solid, but poorly-developed and shallow. Not because the author was unskilled, but perhaps because he limited himself too much. Another 100 or even 200 pages and this novel could have been so much more...with all those pages being dedicated to more details about Jason's late father, life in Cracked Wheel "before," Germaine Frost's medical/scientific background and development, and of course the relationship between Ruth and Jason. Those details would have changed this book from a child tugging at your aprons to a force that knocks you off your feet.

    Easy to read and decently structured, I do give it 3/5 stars. The jump from 3 to 5 stars could have been done so effortlessly (in my opinion) with this groundwork having been laid. The lost potential is truly what drags it down for me.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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