In the Future, Will We All Be Geniuses?

Tiffany Kelly reviews Cory Doctorow’s Walkaway:

Surprisingly, Doctorow doesn’t see his work as a dystopian novel. In fact, he thinks it’s precisely the opposite. Despite depicting a world that is changed by our own technological advancements and ideologies, Doctorow is optimistic about future generations of humans. Walkaway follows characters who do just that—they walk away from society in search of something better. As the literary world keeps churning out dystopian novels, it’s a relief that they’re not all doom and gloom.

I guess it’s a matter of taste whether you find Doctorow’s future world dystopian or not. But it’s sure as hell not jetpacks and vacations on Mars. And the inflation rate! Holy cow.

However, there was one part of the novel that sure was utopian. It was also the part that bugged me the most. As near as I can tell, there’s barely a single character in the entire Walkaway society with an IQ less than 150 or so. OK, maybe 120. How did that happen? What happened to, you know, all the ordinary people? What’s the point of depicting a near-future society where you pretend that the rabble no longer exists and everyone is a genius?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.