The Subprimes

The Subprimes A wickedly funny dystopian parody set in a financially apocalyptic future America from the critically acclaimed author of TriburbiaIn a future America that feels increasingly familiar you are your c

  • Title: The Subprimes
  • Author: Karl Taro Greenfeld
  • ISBN: 9780062132420
  • Page: 424
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A wickedly funny dystopian parody set in a financially apocalyptic future America, from the critically acclaimed author of TriburbiaIn a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have nothings Subprimes Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable Jobless and without assets, they ve waA wickedly funny dystopian parody set in a financially apocalyptic future America, from the critically acclaimed author of TriburbiaIn a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have nothings Subprimes Their bad credit ratings make them unemployable Jobless and without assets, they ve walked out on mortgages, been foreclosed upon, or can no longer afford a fixed address Fugitives who must keep moving to avoid arrest, they wander the globally warmed American wasteland searching for day labor and a place to park their battered SUVs for the night.Karl Taro Greenfeld s trenchant satire follows the fortunes of two families whose lives reflect this new dog eat dog, survival of the financially fittest America Desperate for work and food, a Subprime family has been forced to migrate east, hoping for a better life They are soon joined in their odyssey by a writer and his family slightly better off, yet falling fast Eventually, they discover a small settlement of Subprimes who have begun an agrarian utopia built on a foreclosed exurb Soon, though, the little stability they have is threatened when their land is targeted by job creators for shale oil extraction.But all is not lost A hero emerges, a woman on a motorcycle suspiciously lacking a credit score who just may save the world.In The Subprimes, Karl Taro Greenfeld turns his keen and unflinching eye to our country today and where we may be headed The result is a novel for the 99 percent a darkly funny comedy about paradise lost and found, the value of credit, economic policy, and the meaning of family.

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      Posted by:Karl Taro Greenfeld
      Published :2020-05-15T19:20:37+00:00

    About "Karl Taro Greenfeld"

    1. Karl Taro Greenfeld

      I m the author of six books, including the recent novel Triburbia, the story collection NowTrends, the memoir Boy Alone and the Japanese youth culture collection Speed Tribes

    721 thoughts on “The Subprimes”

    1. Ok, so, this is another novel about a dystopian future, but this one really hits close to home. This does not feel like a distant future and it feels quite familiar: in this not-so-distant future, climate change hits hard, the real estate collapse seems irreversible, and right-wing libertarian politics has prevailed. As a result, people are defined by their credit score, creating a stratification system with "sub-primes" at the bottom, those with low credit score, having sometimes abandoned thei [...]

    2. 2.5/5 StarsReceived this book from a First Reads Giveaway!Summary:The world has gone to hell and all over a credit score. Anyone with an unacceptable credit score is forced out of their home and made to fend for themselves in this decaying world. You follow a couple different characters throughout the book, one of them being a mysterious girl who has no credit score. Likes:I liked the attempt at setting up the world and I enjoyed the idea of the plot.Dislikes:This book was a little jumpy to me [...]

    3. I received this book through the First Read program. Having read some of this authors previous work, I knew I would like the voice, and I wasn't wrong. The book is generally written in the third person, except for one character who writes in the first person, which was a little unusual, but not distractingly so. The basic plot follows two families who are struggling to make sense of a world gone mad, interspersed with the story of Sagram, a loner who believes the only way out of the madness is [...]

    4. I would have ranked this book much higher for its engaging writing and astute politics. This is the world we all fear is coming: an economy and planet devastated by special rights for corporations and rich people. But I have mixed feelings because what saves this book from being thoroughly depressing as a story is also the thing that made me cringe. I would have been much more impressed if Greenfeld had trusted the humanity of his central character and not made her magical. So even though this s [...]

    5. tl;dr: This story depicts a world three elections from now, when the elites have finally bought everything and the world is going to hell. While its skewerings of capitalist excesses and liberal paranoias are both spot-on, the solution it offers is beyond anyone's means. Even the characters in the novel aren't sure what happened, or why.The Subprimes is a book in the classic SFnal genre "If this goes on" Set somewhere around 2030, the book describes life after the second great real estate bubble [...]

    6. Dystopian With a Plausible PremiseYes, you heard me right--this is a dystopian novel with an actual plausible premise. This was a case where the book's "blurb" description made me want to read the book. I don't usually include blurbs in my reviews, but I'll reproduce this one, since it's what pulled me in: In a future America that feels increasingly familiar, you are your credit score. Extreme wealth inequality has created a class of have-nothings: Subprimes. Their bad credit ratings make them u [...]

    7. In a future, dystopian America, ultaconservative politics has won the day. Environmental regulations have been stripped away, labor protections reduced to nothing, the hospitals and schools privatized. Deregulation and privatisation have removed all forms of social support and the inequality between the haves and have-nots has become an unbreachable chasm. Credit scoring is now an all-powerful weapon. Waves of people with low credit scores - the Subprimes of the title - live in squats called "Ry [...]

    8. I think the premise of this book is terrifying in its plausibility--the environment is slowly collapsing due to human exploitation, the government is ignoring these signs and continues to pursue more aggressive means of obtaining energy, and the worth and freedom of people is determined by their wealth and good credit score. It's a bleak picture, but one that doesn't seem far off. I enjoyed the way Greenfeld intertwined multiple story lines and perspectives of people in very different life situa [...]

    9. [Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book as a First Reads. My first win! I got nothing other than a copy of the book; and nothing was required of me, not even this review.]A post-economic-apocalyptic story centering on SW USA after massive economic changes. Extreme corporatism is in effect and any laws or rules that hinder them are removed (think EPA, min wage, etc). People are judged by their credit score, and anyone who is subprime is effectively wandering homeless. A group of subprimes start to [...]

    10. My 8th book in my Mr B's reading year. This is described as a dystopian satire on modern America. The America that lent to much money to people who couldn't afford it. As with all satires it ratchets up the reality. So in this America, you have gangs of homeless, the subprimes, unable to get mortgages, jobs, even schooling, because they have no credit score. Into this world enters Sargram, a messiah like character on a motorcycle. She makes those around her think differently about themselves and [...]

    11. I received a free copy of this book through "The Good Reads First Reads Giveaway". This book is not for a supporter of modern day Capitalism or organized religion, for that matter, since it distorts both. The paranoia of the Far Left is exposed by greatly distorted views on oil drilling and climate change. The author seems to forget that the use of "Eminent Domain" is exclusively a government function and powerful class action law suits would destroy overreaching corporations in our country. No [...]

    12. Couldn't stick the ending, which is really sad because it is a fantastic book. (view spoiler)[I understand the decision to go for the mystical happy ending, but somehow it didn't fit with the rest of the tone of the book (hide spoiler)]. I'd still recommend it. This is the high-brow version of Idiocracy, with satire much more pointed than just "people dumb"

    13. The Subprimes is a what if story.What if all local, state and federal services were privatized, what if your whole life were controlled by your credit score, what if there were no government regulations on anything? What would our country be like?Climate change is here. After 11:00 a.m. the heat is unbearable. Fracking is being done in our National Parks. Solar power and all alternative power sources have been banned. If your credit score is not high enough you are unemployable. There are no min [...]

    14. I couldn’t finish this. The story’s ok, but the writing left lots to be desired. Much too didadic (and I friggin love socialist sci-fi), way too close to our own world to make any new points other than wealth inequality is messed up (true), the “main character” is a over-idealized Mary Sue, and worst of all, bad prose reigns on every page. The writing is just limp and dull; little happens chapter to chapter. The nonfiction book Nomadland is essentially the same story, but told with much [...]

    15. I liked this book, but it gave me a lot of anxiety. It is set in a terrifyingly realistic dystopian near-future, where minimum wage has been abolished, environmental protections have been repealed in favor of unregulated drilling, and a person's credit score determines where they can live and work. Even though this was published in 2015, it feels like a spot-on extrapolation of current American politics.

    16. A great premise that just couldn't get out of its own way. No subtlety or nuance, The Subprimes hits you square in the face with a political interpretation of America's potential future. While written with rich language, the story is nevertheless clunky and most characters static and two-dimensional. Much of this could be forgiven if not for the ending - a deus ex machina that ruins any message the author might have worked to develop.

    17. Very funny, great characters, and a very believable storyline. I enjoyed this book. The satire really wasn't that far off the mark of the direction our society could be heading, which made it so enjoyable for me to read. Interesting commentaries on privatization and the effect on the economy, families, and American culture as a whole. One of the most interesting things I think was that in this future only the U.S. was affected.

    18. It was well written but I can't agree with the political content. A) I don't think a purely capitalist system would take such a sinister tact and B) I think that there are an awful lot of good people out there who would stand up long before it got that bad. So it was a bit frustrating because my eyes kept involuntarily rolling to the back of my head.

    19. This novel was touted as being wickedly funny. I don't concur. While Subprimes has an obvious agenda, no less obvious than an Ayn Rand on the other side, it is well written and the message in the forefront is simple and real. "People helping people." The message is relatable and real.

    20. It is a fun read and it hits the issues we face in society today. It was a bit simplistic, but I would recommend it to the capitalists of our society to temper their fervor. It is an anarchist's dream and a capitalist's nightmare.

    21. I love everything about this book except the weird mythical element that was thrown in from out of nowhere in the end.

    22. 911 service is divided into "Premium" and "Regular."In a not-so-distant future America, it is a crime to be less than extremely wealthy. The "1%" have taken over government and religion, and the plutocratic Pepper Sisters control both realms. The minimum wage has been abolished by the "National Right to Work Act," and people without superb credit ratings live in transient Ryanvilles (referencing both a President Paul Ryan and Great Depression-era Hoovervilles). The "American Empowerment Act" has [...]

    23. I read Karl Taro Greenfeld’s The Subprimes in the midst of Seattle’s hottest summer in a century, so it was easy to imagine the characters in this laugh-out-loud satire surviving the burning dust of an expired exurb. I have a specific interest in climate change as a narrative force, and the novel’s slow strangulation of the environment makes for a lot of black humor. For instance, endangered whales beach themselves on both coasts, and they become a kind of living—and dying—parentheses [...]

    24. The offscreen election of President Paul Ryan (with, presumably a completely Republican Senate and House) leads to a conservative/corporate utopia -- and what the rest of us call hell on earth. People who fall out of the middle class fall fast and hard: the National Freedom to Work Act has abolished all minimum wage laws, the American Empowerment Act has cut food assistance to a one-time $250 in fast-food vouchers, and federal housing subsidies have been replaced with the National Housing Freedo [...]

    25. I won this book as the result of a giveaway, and ended up liking it much more than I thought I would. The blurb sounded interesting, but a little dry, and then the synopsis on the book's cover itself made me even more doubtful. But the 'parody' elements are really not as glaring and heavy-handed as those descriptions made me think they might be, and the dystopia was handled much better than I was expecting. Is this an extreme example of a near-future Grapes of Wrath scenario? Yes. But it's not [...]

    26. I only read a little of this book before quitting, which is rare for me. The start of this book is as hyperbolic and slanted as Fox News, only from the opposite perspective. Renewable energy and free wifi no longer exist because they hurt capitalism. Social programs and minimum wages are gone. Good people that have one bad break are doomed to be homeless and persecuted with no help to get back on their feet. It is such a ridiculous taking of conservative ideas to absurd levels to create a strawm [...]

    27. The Subprimes by Karl Taro GreenfeldThe Subprimes are basically anyone who isn’t extremely wealthy in a not too distant future America in which government services have been privatized and minimum wage has been abolished. Unable to continue paying their mortgages, they have lost their homes and cannot find regular employment because of low credit scores which forces them to find little camps called Ryanvilles which are usually broken up after a few days. That is until a group of people with th [...]

    28. This book scared me. The author depicts a deregulated and privitized US where the gap between rich and poor has widened so much that the would be "middle class" are now homeless "subprimes" whose low credit scores limit their ability to hold jobs, get health insurance, homes, etc. They are left to sleep under overpasses and in battered vehicles and work at low paying manual jobs just trying to get by. There is no minimum wage, school systems (the entire country) are run by vast corporations more [...]

    29. "The Subprime" is a dystopian novel that takes place just 15 minutes into the future. The fragile condition of our present society is made manifest in a world where a person's credit rating determines whether he or she is included in the defensive elite or cast out among the squatters who live in Ryanvilles, the foreclosed developments abandoned by those unable to pay up. The development of the story is complex and jagged, with a host of characters interacting over long distances. A spark of col [...]

    30. I would give this more stars except that I really struggled to get into it. I was expecting it to be funnier and more clever but instead it starts off very bleak and depressing. And it's a dystopia, so yes - bleak and depressing fits. But it is also allegorical, attempting to point out that unchecked greed and unregulated capitalism leads to planetary and societal ruin, along with moral and spiritual ruin for most individuals. So ultimately, maybe that was too heavy of a lift for this work, whic [...]

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