Perhaps what I found most distracting about the book was Buddy and his defiance of time. Buddy is clearly not meant to represent any one person. He's a young boy in 1939, and he's only reached his teen years by the mid-1970s. There is no Buddy. His name along is a cue. Fies is Buddy. I'm Buddy. You're Buddy. Wouldn't you like to be a Buddy too? I get where Fies is going with that approach. I think it undermines his storytelling, though. The reminders that Buddy is a stand-in make him less of a character. I didn't want to be reminded that he was a device. I probably would have appreciated the story more and Buddy's role in it if I could believe in him as an individual, as a person born of Fies's imagination. Read Full Review
I don't mean to criticize Brian Fies for not being a brilliant essayist. What I mean to say is that Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? doesn't hold up as an essay; it needed to be a story. A story could have explored the differences between the spirit of the post-WW2 generation and the modern day without being declarative. With fully realized characters we could have experienced the wonder of the prototypical television and the moon landing, and felt that hope for the future ourselves, instead of having the experience explained to readers and expecting them not to question it. Read Full Review
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