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Jonathan Willing's Travels to Pangea

296 pages4 hours


Jonathan Willing’s Travels to Pangea is set the indeterminate future where our eponymous hero is first seen as an able and conscientious worker on his family’s farm but also as a dreamer who loves poetry and old tales of heroic knights. He lives in Tlllerland, a Quaker, Amish place with a close-knit society where the people still thee and thou each other and act as one big family. When, however, young Jonathan’s sweetheart breaks up with him, he decides to take a one year Rumschpringa to Pangea to heal his broken heart. Thus it is through his alien eyes in the book that we see Pangea (which, except for the agricultural preserves like Tillerland, is the rest of the world). Almost immediately upon his arrival in Econopolis, the principal city of the empire, Jonathan starts seeing a society almost the exact opposite from the loving and supportive Tillerland. First he sees strange billboards: CHERISH THE RICH; LOWPAY EQUALS PROSPERITY; SELF-INTEREST LEADS TO PERFECTION. Modest and naive, he is shocked at how frankly people speak about sex and their private parts; at the same time he is confused by everyone being ashamed and/or afraid to show any signs of pity and compassion. In seeking to buy a Dickens novel, he learns that it is forbidden. Only books that bear the imprimatur, ARSFPET (The Ayn Rand Society for the Propagation of Economic Truth) can be published, and books such as Dickens novels with their sympathy for the poor and oppressed are only available in underground black market emporiums such as the one, run by Sylvester Oliphant Bumwad, where Jonathan buys the Dickens and gets a tour of the other services offered where one can get a good cry to release any bottled-up pity. He finds day-labor work demolishing a burnt out building and from his co-workers starts to understand how Pangean society works. Banksters, oligarchs and the media control thought itself as well as the government. Only 15% of the people can vote. Tight social control keeps the common people in line. One can go to jail for criticizing the rich. Neighborhood watches carefully monitor any aberrant behavior for dangerous signs of empathy and solidarity. Education and media all reinforce the idea that this is the best world possible. Then through a lucky accident some months into his visit Jonathan becomes a hero (as was his dream) and gets to live with the 15%, even meeting the emperor of Pangea himself. At one point he is contacted by people from the underground and gets a chance to be a different kind of hero.

NOTE: for satiric and thematic purposes that reveal the ways the elite use sex to maintain social control, there are several passages in the book that while definitely not pornography are still very explicit and therefore inappropriate for young readers.

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