Infomocracy by Malka Older

It’s around the end of the 21st century and after a lot of crisis the world of Infomocracy is no longer organised in countries but into so-called “centenals” with 100,000 citizens each and their own governments. In this micro-democracy, every ten years citizens can elect a government for their centenal.

Parties in this system are usually either regional or global: Heritage, Liberty, Policy1st are all examples for global parties/governments that compete for something called “Supermajority”, which is basically like a world-wide government.

These elections are organised by a platform called “Information” which is the one communication and information platform that is used pretty much by the whole world. Their stated goal is to enable democratic decisions and processes through as much information as possible.

The book takes places around the time of the third global election and follows the story of Ken, an employee of Policy1st, and Mishima, an Information agent. They are hard at work campaigning and fighting illegal election tactics when all of a sudden things take a violent turn. There are already rumours that one of the governments might try to take over other areas violently but there’s nothing concrete. Still, the rumours cause Ken and Mishima to investigate unbeknownst to each other.

Right from the first pages I fell in love with this world. Flying vehicles that are like RVs in which agents travel all of the world (chapters take place, for instance, in Doha, Paris, or Tokyo) to help their respective organisations, an NGO tasked with organising global elections that also provides a global information network to share as much knowledge as possible with everyone, swords instead of guns,… what’s not to love there?! Combine that with intrigues, bombs, and hacking and you’ve got something amazing!

According to the cover text this was the author’s first novel but you wouldn’t notice it. The story has just the right number of layers and the characters are very well developed and every single one is interesting to the point that I’d probably read at least a short story about every single one of them.

The book isn’t perfect but it’s very close to that for me! I basically had to force myself not to jump straight away into the second instalment, “Null States”.

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