“Self-Deception Is Human”: Book Review of The Race (at Radical Science Fiction)

“This was a great little piece of political fiction…Wilson shows his writing chops – immersing us in a political world that doesn’t feel jargony, over-the-top, or formulaic.” – Nic Eaton, Radical Science Fiction

I was both pleased and intrigued when Nic over at Radical Science Fiction graciously offered to review my book The Race. Because although The Race is not science fiction, I’d like to think it shares a common set of themes with works in that genre.

Setting aside the horse race of an election, or the debates about this or that issue, what happens to the people involved? What’s universal about politics and politicians? What does a political campaign do to the people around it? What do a campaign and the politicians we elect (or not) say about our society? Or democracy? Or us?

Questions like these are why shows like Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica are so compelling. It’s not the space aliens or special effects (cool as they may be). It’s the investigation into the human condition.

This isn’t a new idea of course. I only point it out to show why it was unsurprising that Nic, a fan of that genre, zoomed straight to the heart of what I was trying to get at.

Here’s the title of the review:

“Self-Deception Is Human”

Yep. Once again, my reviewer summarizes the book better than I did. That’s basically it in three words. How do they do it?

This book had a kind of politics that I was not expecting.

From the title and the brief description I expected something more overt – hard politics, maybe. Instead I found a very human centered story that snuck politics in like a Trojan horse. There was no “surprise” factor, though, and that’s a good thing. At no point did the doors fly open, throwing the message and meaning into your face.

Love this. In fact I’m tempted to quote the entire review, not just because it’s flattering but because it’s so thoughtful and well done. You really should check it out (and while you’re there, take a look at the rest of the blog too).

One more paragraph:

I loved, too, that the author sprinkled hints of the idea that they are different from us without being preachy or self-righteous (though I would have been self-righteous about it, and I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had been). It isn’t even a small sticking point of the story, mostly a throwaway, but it was important to me. Governor Olson (and presumably others) are not just the way they are because of their biology or their upbringing – they also have problems of privilege. Power, wealth, status, respect – these things don’t only factor into the success one can have, but in the failures. Wilson acknowledges this without making a martyr out of Olson, and I appreciated that very much.

Wow. I’m extremely pleased and grateful. Oh, and the summary:

This was a great little piece of political fiction. At just over 70 pages I was able to read this book in an afternoon. The characters were compelling. Wilson shows his writing chops – immersing us in a political world that doesn’t feel jargony, over-the-top, or formulaic.

Thank you! It’s definitely daunting to take on a well-worn subject, and I’m glad it didn’t feel overly familiar.

And the final conclusion:

The book was excellent and I look forward to reading Jacke Wilson’s other works.

I’m very grateful to Nic for taking the time to write such a thoughtful review. And like anyone who’s spent any time at all checking out his blog, I eagerly await his novel – I’m sure it will be well worth a read!


You can check out my response to other reviews by My Little Book Blog (“warm and full of life”) and Small Press Reviews (“an incredibly astute novella about ego and politics”). I’m terribly grateful for all of the fine reviewing I’ve received by these indie reviewers.

And of course, you can find The Race at Amazon.com (in Kindle and paperback versions) and other formats and locations.

Are you a reviewer? Leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll ship you a free review copy. Or you can enjoy the 100 Objects series, which is still going strong. 

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