LAPLATIA, Or, the City that Could Not Dream
By Alexandre A. Loch
Warning! MAJOR Spoilers!
THIS BOOK TAKES AN INTROSPECTIVE LOOK at the lives of ordinary people living in the city of Laplatia. In a dystopian future, the Earth’s energy sources have been depleted. Humanity invents “The Extractors” to process the last form of energy left: dreams. Extractors produce the electrical substance called Fos, which takes a terrible toll on the people. Loch tells the story interchangeably between large, sweeping blocks of exposition to move the plot along and small, microscopic snapshots into seven characters’ lives.
The prose is very concise and clear. The author has an interesting style that pulls you deeper into each character’s head for one moment, but then shoots you back out into the public the next. Various characters have Greek names like Hermes, Thantos, and Ophelia, a lot of whom meet tragic ends, which helps add a sense of dread to the dream-like quality of the book. Some characters are more sympathetic than others. I didn’t find myself particularly attached to any of them, except for Hermes, who had a situation with the highest stakes involved.
At the end, humanity recognizes that they exploited their own souls along with the planet’s resources. However, humanity continues to view itself as “separate” from the planet rather than a part of it, and that it would be better off going back to exploiting the planet’s resources then to recognize how everything interconnects (Loch 116). The people as well suddenly embrace a form of communism in that no one should have more than the other. Of course, this seems all too good to be true. Sure enough, one of the characters becomes restless and makes a fateful decision which starts the cycle all over again.
I liked many of the story’s points like how people all began to sound alike without imagination. Sometimes I felt like there was too much exposition and I wanted more showing rather than telling, but overall, the balance between them was well-done. There are a lot of different avenues for thought in this book, and it’s a great look into Western psychology and how overarching societal decisions impact lives on an individual scale.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This does not impact my opinion in any way.