The incredible has happened. A billionaire businessman from our time, frozen in secret in the early 21st century, is discovered in the far future and resurrected, given health and a vigorous younger body. He awakens into a civilization in which every individual is formed into a legal corporation at birth, and spends many years trying to attain control over their own life by getting a majority of his or her own shares. Life extension has made life very long indeed.
Justin Cord is the only unincorporated man in the world, a true stranger in this strange land. Justin survived because he is tough and smart. He cannot accept only part ownership of himself, even if that places him in conflict with a civilization that extends outside the solar system to the Oort Cloud.
The Unincorporated Man is a provocative social/political/economic novel that people will be arguing about for decades.
The protagonist of this novel is Justin Cord a man frozen in time who wakes up three hundred years later to a changed world.
Dani Kollin lives in Los Angeles, California. Eytan Kollin lives in Pasadena, California. They are brothers, and this is their first novel.
The world created by the Kollin brothers is a high concept one. It centers around personal incorporation in quite an innovative way but the main issue in the book is about freedom, and one man’s wish for freedom in a world where everyone is taught something else from early years. In reality I think personal incorporation on a global level would be a hard sell but it is still interesting to explore.
That Virtual Reality lead to a collapse of society feels very real and the way it is represented is scary.
There are some surprises in there about the world I can’t really describe without spoiling it but there are loose ends in there I hope will be pursued in the sequel.
The world building is well executed and believable to some extent.
Justin was born before personal incorporation so he is the first unincorporated man and it is anathema to him to become incorporated. An operative named Hektor from the biggest corporation in the world becomes his antagonist as he realizes this could shake up the ‘perfect’ society they have.
The rest of the book is about how Hektor tries to get Justin to incorporate. He blackmails, threatens Justin’s friends and loved ones etc.
The plot works for me but it feels like it is missing something.
It is refreshing to read a book where both the protagonist and the antagonist think they are good even if Justin sometimes thinks he should be wrong because it would make his life easier.
Every good story should have a love interest and this one has a good one with the usual obstacles and a few new ones specific to the society.
In general the characters are easy to like, you can’t say they are to perfect but they certainly are special.
I am impressed with The Unincorporated Man as a high concept debut novel. It’s captivating and the whole concept of personal incorporation is intriguing and I had no problem liking the characters. This reminds me somewhat of A. E. van Vogt’s Tyranopolis. If you like a big high concept idea this is a book for you.