Reginald has created an Orwellian world, the Fellian States of America, a fascist state of tight government control. The protagonist is an unnamed, cynical college professor at California Saints University. The story is told as a series of diary entries and the language style is a version of Newspeak, irreverent, cynical, profane, also clever, and sometimes funny. Our fictional story teller comes across initially as a smartass in his own mind but he takes care to be obsequious to the powers that be.
The story begins when a fellow professor is taken by the state. Our protagonist appears to try to keep a low profile, play the game, but he becomes adept at Machiavellian machinations, gaming the system. He works his way to become head of the University and is about to be offered a national job by the Great Leader, Dr. Fell. “A purge here, an execution there, hey, it was all grist for the mill.”
But there is more than one Machiavellian at work.
Reginald’s writing style in this novel is something I have not really encountered before. At first it was slightly off-putting, but as the story developed, it served to put me into the mind of the protagonist. To further that, Reginald begins each chapter with some doggerel.
This book is part of a “double” novel: A Llull in the Compass: A Science Fiction Novel by W. C. Bamberger coupled with Academentia: A Future Dystopia by Robert Reginald (Wildside Double #17) . Academentia is also available as a single eBook on Kindle.