Unemployment has ravaged the U.S. economy. Foreclosures are rampant. People struggle everywhere, exhausted by the collapse that destroyed their lives . . .
Benjamin Cade is an expert in cognition and abstract literature, and before the flatlined economy caught up to him, he earned his living as a university instructor. Now, without income, he joins the millions defaulting on their loans—in his case, the money he borrowed to finance his degrees. But there are consequences.
Using advances in cognitive science and chemical therapy, Ben's debtors can reclaim their property—his education. The government calls the process "Repossession Therapy," and it is administered by the Homeland Renewal Project, the desperate program designed to salvage what remains of the ravaged U.S. economy. The data Ben's repossession will yield is invaluable to those improving the "indexing" technology—a remarkable medical advance that has enabled the effective cure of all mental disorders. By disassembling his mind, doctors will gain the expertise to assist untold millions.
But Ben has no intention of losing his mind without a fight, so he begins teaching in the central park, distributing his knowledge before it's gone in a race against ignorance. And somewhere in Ben's confusing takedown, Chimpanzee arrives. Its iconography appears spray-painted and wheat-pasted around town. Young people in rubber chimpanzee masks start massive protests. A new use of the indexing technology shows up in bars across the country. It's called "chimping" . . . named after the mysterious protest movement, and it uses goggles and electrodes to reverse the curative indexing process, temporarily (recreationally) offering those inclined a mental illness of their own choosing.
As Ben slowly loses himself, the Chimpanzee movement seems to grow. And all fingers point to Ben . . . or maybe the voice that speaks to him every time he uses the chimping rig. As civil unrest grows, and Homeland Security takes an interest, Ben finds himself at the center of a storm that may not even be real. What is Chimpanzee? Who created it? What does it want?
And is there even enough of Ben left to find out?
2014 Locus Recommended Reading List
Top Indie Fiction: 15 Key Titles Beyond the Best Sellers List for Fall 2014
Best Fantasy/SciFi of 2014
"As with the best dystopian fiction, Chimpanzee taps into many contemporary issues and fears — in this case, everything from the surveillance state to the student-debt crisis. Chimpanzee is a post-collapse novel for those who have become numb to them, and a unique take on a subgenre in sore need of one. The book's dazzling originality not only helps overcome much of its dryness, it makes it well worth the extra homework."
— Jason Heller, NPR Books
"[A] disturbingly believable near-future dystopia."
— Publishers Weekly
"[A] densely layered novel."
—Craig Gidney, Washington Independent Review of Books
"Excellent literary dystopia."
—Starred review, Library Journal
"Bradley's sophomore effort is just as ambitious as his debut, and his voice is more assured, his characters better delineated. Chimpanzee isn't cheerful stuff, but there's a revolutionary zeal, and a belief in the power of the mind to effect change in the world, that provides some light in this otherwise bleak dystopia."
— Tim Pratt, Locus
"Both heart-pounding and intelligent, this dystopian thriller has the best of both worlds."
"A dark brooding novel of a future that might well come to pass."
"Satirical SF has largely disappeared at novel length, perhaps because we're all too aware of the problems with our civilization and don't want to be reminded about it. This author's second novel falls into that category, but you don't want to miss it."
— Don D'Ammassa, Critical Mass
"With his second novel, Darin Bradley continues to establish himself as one of SF's most intriguing new voices."
— Christopher East
"Bradley's book is a fascinating and depressing novel of great originality."
— Caustic Cover Critics