Sanction, the Review
This review has been republished with the author's permission. The original can be found here
Sanction is, simply put, the most wondrous work I’ve read in many years. There are wonderful scenes, ideas, touches, and, as a writer myself, I wonder at the work the author did to pull it off. At well over 400,000 words this is indeed an epic–and only the first of three volumes.
As I outlined in a previous post, I had wanted to write a novel most of my life, and was inspired to finally do it by a tweet asking “Who will be the Tom Wolfe of the NeoReation?” Amusingly, the product turned out to be only mildly “NRx” but I liked it and Sanity has sold well (by my standards) and gotten good reviews.
With Sanction, Roman McClay has indeed written the “NRx/RP” novel of our time, without, I suspect, even trying.
If we’re to try and place this novel in a genre, it’s science fiction, but science fiction that constantly strains at the usual definitions and genre tropes. Set in a time period of “Present Day/2018” through to approximately 2040, most every chapter contains a scene from now/near term, a scene from somewhere in the middle of this time period and a scene from farther on. Because of this structure, the reader is very much in the dark about what’s going on in the beginning, but each chapter flashes another facet of the story into the reader’s mind, another clue on how it all fits together— but be warned, this is not a light read, a straightforward exposition of a single idea, or a mere entertainment. This is more like reading Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. Sanction requires investment from the reader.
I don’t know if describing the plot, as such, would give you any useful take on what the book is about, but but the basics are: Lyndon James MacLeod, a true Alpha Male and supremely strong independent Man, has endured a great many things in his life, betrayal and insults and theft of his property, that an Alpha would, until modern times, have responded to with proper and necessary violence. Lyndon takes it all and moves on, starts over building new businesses and romantic relationships, until one day (for reasons you’ll have to read to find out), he decides enough is enough, and systematically and indeed, artistically, eliminates 46 of the individuals who thought they could get away with fucking him over. Confined to prison for life, he becomes the subject of a genetic experiment that has, let’s say, unintended consequences, at least for the Governor of Colorado, a scientist/entrepreneur who set the project in motion. The fact that the project is run by two what might be described as humanoid/android “runaway” AIs is not exactly coincidental. There’s more, so much more than this mere sketch to Sanction, but I call it science fiction in the sense that it explores the radical, world-shaking changes that AI and nanotech and cloud connectivity directly to the brain are going to bring— in fewer years than you may believe.
Much of the story is told through lengthy internal dialogues by a variety of characters, often reflecting on NRx/Red Pill themes: The modern suppression of male energy, government as Daddy, feminism’s poisoning of sexual relations and marriage through “liberating” women to have sex with who and when they want, the stupefaction of the general population by the media, Human Biodiversity, the natural and well-known differences between races and sexes, the natural clannishness of humans versus the fantasy of the NeoLiberal, Universal WoMan. All of these and much more are explored here, the deracinating and dehumanizing effects of modernity laid bare. There is also speculation and discussion about what it will take to break out and break free of these disasters–and more than discussion. The reader gradually comes to realize that the startling events set in the future are part of a plan to do just that.
Then there’s the language. Aside from ideas, visions, intelligent speculations on the future of mankind, Sanction is a massive prose poem, a soaring flight of mood and light and color, especially color, reflected off of a thousand polished facets, showing the events of the book from different angles, again and again.
Sanction is truly a great book, physically heavy, and heavy with ideas and dense, amazing language. I don’t recommend it unless you commit to reading the whole thing, though. This journey is not for the faint of heart. I’m glad that this Book I is only the beginning.