Author: Faren Siminoff

Publisher: Starry Night Publishing

ISBN: 9780692766101

The dystopian debut novel of the noted researcher-historian Faren Siminoff, The Transformation: GTE 45, is set in the Corporate States of America (the CSA), 45 years from the present moment (with the GTE in the title standing for the “Great Transformation Era”). A rigid class system prevails, in terms of which everyone is allocated to a certain tier of society, dependent upon their material output.

At the apex of the hierarchy are the Job Creators (the JCs) (whose virtues are extolled), while, on the bottom rung, are the Takers, who are destined to live a life of obscurity in the dreaded Projects (unless redeemed by them testing capable of becoming producers of some worth to the corporate well-being). In between are, primarily, the great mass of Wage Earners, to whose ranks one of the leading protagonists, Paul Gaugin, in The Transformation belongs, despite his desire to become an EASY (a member of the preferred sphere of the “career artists, curators, artists, directors, athletes, coaches and like skilled individuals” comprising the “Entertainment, Arts and Sports sphere”). The love triangle that emerges between Paul, Layla Saenz, a high-ranking history professor and author (similarities to the current author noted) and the Reverend Isaac Freeman, head of the Church of the Revealed Saints, plays out against a backdrop of an era dominated by an ethos that is Orwellian in its rigid structuring and essential heartlessness. As an exposé of where misplaced Republican and far-right sentiments could possibly land the nation as a whole, The Transformation is as much an eye-opener as Siminoff hoped it would be, and with particular relevance in the light of President-elect Donald Trump’s recent victory―indeed, this work could not have come out at a better time.

The tone of sanctimonious righteousness that dictatorial and authoritarian regimes tend to assume is expertly mirrored by Siminoff, with the extreme views of the ruling potentates manifesting themselves in the repressive spirit of the prevailing regime, in terms of which there are dire consequences for anyone who dares to try to think differently from the entrenched and enforced norm. The depth of this novel is disturbing and provoking, with the dangers of the prescriptions of such a society looming only too active in the imagination.

The range of Siminoff’s conceptualization, ranging from descriptions of the personal angst felt by the lead characters to the biblical dimensions of her relating of the spiritual foundation of the Church of the Revealed Saints, clearly shows her comprehension of significant moments, and the interplay of the different psyches involved at such pivotal times in nation-making, as fitting to her professorial status as a lead academic in American History at Nassau Community College. For any thinking adult who wonders where our current state is heading, The Transformation: GTE 45 is essential reading, and definitely not a novel to be overlooked.