There have been many fine books set in our capital, but this is Dublin as you’ve never seen it . . . because it doesn’t exist yet.
The latest novel from broadcaster John Kelly – part-mystery, part-espionage, part-satire, very literary – is set a quarter-century hence, in 2039. It’s a radically different world to now, though not unrecognisably so. This is speculative fiction, not science fiction; a distinction made by Margaret Atwood, which annoys devotees of sci-fi, but here the distinction is valid.
Kelly’s Dublin, and Ireland, is a place that might yet come to pass; an extrapolation, basically, of current trends – political, environmental, cultural – and what could result should they continue.
In From Out of the City, Ireland is part of what’s called, rather militaristically, the European Alliance, and something of a vassal state of America. US gunships prowl Dublin Bay. The Americans have an army base in the Phoenix Park. The UIA – a nastier descendant of the CIA – has seeming free-rein in this jurisdiction.