Christopher Buckley's new novel Boomsday (Twelve Books, 2007) is a real hoot. The novel takes place a few years in the future, shortly after Boomsday — the day when Baby Boomers start turning 65 and begin sinking the Social Security system. Cassandra Devine — a 20-something blogger still angry at her father for investing her college savings in a dot-com startup — decides to declare war on that pampered generation.
When the going gets tough, the tough get blogging.... In cyberspace, everyone can hear you scream. (p. 172)
Fueled by Red Bull during her late-night blogging sessions, Cassandra first incites young people to storm gated communities and golf courses, and almost stages a tax revolt before unhatching a much larger and reasoned scheme. (Let's just say it's inspired by Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal.) Cassandra becomes the hero of Generation W — as in their favorite all-purpose dismissal "Whatever" — and causes political turmoil right up to the Oval Office.
Buckley's characters are little more than cardboard cutouts; his real talent is with political satire, goofy names, and equally goofy organizations. The pro-life organization, for example, is the Society for the Protection of Every Ribonucleic Molecule.
ABBA [the Association of Baby Boomer Advocates] had formed a few years earlier when a faction of members of the American Association of Retired Persons decided that aging Boomers needed their own lobby.... It's guiding philosophy was “From cradle to grave, special in every way.”
ABBA's headquarters on Massachusetts Avenue near Dupont Circle had been designed by the architect Renzo Nolento at a cost the organization preferred not to discuss in public. The building's lobby consisted of an elliptical atrium with brushed steel walls. In an interview with Architectural Digest, Nolento revealed that he had been inspired by the platinum stainless steel finish of the Sub-Zero refrigerators popular among ABBA's membership. “I wanted to express a certain coldness,” he said, “but also a forcefulness that conveys the idea 'Don't fool around with us because we are very powerful, okay?'” The metallic walls were inscribed, “Ask not, what can your country do for you. Ask, what has your country done for you lately?” (p. 149-150)
Boomsday is a very fun novel and just unnerving enough to make the read thought-provoking as well.