HADRON AGE SF (2)
January 12, 2022
One in a series of posts about the 75 best sf adventures published during the genre’s Hadron Age era (from 2004–2023, according to HILOBROW’s periodization schema). For Josh Glenn’s Hadron Age Sci-Fi 75 list (a work in progress), click here.
Matthew Sharpe’s Jamestown (2007).
In a not-too-far off, post-apocalyptic America, the gangsterish Manhattan Company that controls New York (and does battle with Brooklyn) sends a high-tech, armored bus of bearded explorers to establish an outpost in Virginia — where they hope to make contact with the local “Indian” population and exploit such resources as trees, oil, and uncontaminated foodstuffs. The adventure is narrated by the least depraved of the invaders, the soulful if spotty Johnny Rolfe, whose journal entries and IMs recount his love affair with the smart, precocious, teenaged Indian princess Pocahontas… who at first leads the explorers into a sybaritic trap. This wildly imaginative, funny, raunchy, and violent story recapitulates the Jamestown settlement of 1608 from Pocahontas’s rescue of Captain John Smith on… while satirizing 9/11-era American society, culture, and politics. At the level of the sentence, particularly whenever Pocahontas is speaking, the writing here is much better than it needs to be; it’s a dazzling high-lowbrow tour de force, on Sharpe’s part, equal parts Shakespeare and YA chick lit and horror. Meanwhile, the Indians — who speak better English than they let on, and whose red coloring turns out to be sunblock — are not at all what they seem!
Fun fact: In an interview, Sharpe once explained that “the story of Jamestown functions as one of the founding myths of our nation, and I wanted to highlight how America began in violence, bloodshed, and a level of incompetence that would be ridiculous had it not been so deadly; in other words, Jamestown was a lot like the administration of George W. Bush.”
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST HADRON AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES.