Another Now–Economist digs into the details of a Counterpart-inspired alt world

Review by C.J. Bunce

The late great economics teacher Gordon Blenderman used a similar approach to Yanis Varoufakis’s back in the 1980s, along with the requisite readings from Samuelson: Prove that you understand theories of economics by writing a book review of classic novels, explaining the plots in purely economic terms.  Varoufakis, the former finance minister of Greece, a current member of the Greek parliament, and economics professor, uses an age-old tack in his new political science fiction novel, Another Now Varoufakis sees the banking/market crisis of 2008 as one of those key, fixed points in history that is the subject of many a parallel universe, alternate history, or multiverse tale.  As if digging into the circumstances behind the split into two worlds that occurred in the science fiction TV series Counterpart, the author leans hard into economics theory to hypothesize his idea of a better political structure than capitalism by building a parallel world that responded differently to its crises up to and including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plato offered a similar approach with his cave allegory, and Sir Thomas More did it with his novel Utopia Explain politics and economics theories in a way that simplifies them for the ordinary reader, make them more accessible.  If you’ve taken a college political science course, Another Now will take you back.  But science fiction is only the framework for Varoufakis’s story, which pairs individuals in our world (which he colors as the failed world construct) with their counterparts in his ideal society that took a different approach to society after 2008.

Being light in the science fiction content will make this story, which is more an educational teaching aid than a Harry Turtledove historical adventure, targeted more to a reader excited about politics and economics between 2008 and today.  Ultimately the characters must make a choice as 2025 approaches:  Do they want to live in our world or this proposed variant version of reality?  The novel doesn’t feel like it will have much of a shelf life–will anyone 10 years from now care about this period in history?  Will it matter in the grand scheme of things, or as one character suggests, these turning points in history are no more important than the choices individuals make every day.

For those willing to give it a try, expect to find Varoufakis’s proposals laid out in a completely readable fashion.  The style is repetitive, which makes it feel more preachy and dry at times, more like Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan than More’s Utopia, but the author throws all his punches at his real-life foes (like Microsoft, Netflix, Amazon, and Google) and gets his point across.  Another Now is available now here at Amazon from Melville House Publishing.

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