Tropic of Kansas
The United States of America is no more. Broken into warring territories, its center has become a wasteland DMZ known as “the Tropic of Kansas.” Though this gaping geographic hole has no clear boundaries, everyone knows it's out there—that once-bountiful part of the heartland, broken by greed and exploitation, where neglect now breeds unrest. Two travelers appear in this arid American wilderness: Sig, the fugitive orphan of political dissidents, and his foster sister Tania, a government investigator whose search for Sig leads her into her own past—and towards an unexpected future.Sig promised those he loves that he would make it to the revolutionary redoubt of occupied New Orleans. But first he must survive the wild edgelands of a barren mid-America policed by citizen militias and autonomous drones, where one wrong move can mean capture . . . or death. One step behind, undercover in the underground, is Tania. Her infiltration of clandestine networks made of old technology and new politics soon transforms her into the hunted one, and gives her a shot at being the agent of real change—if she is willing to give up the explosive government secrets she has sworn to protect.As brother and sister traverse these vast and dangerous badlands, their paths will eventually intersect on the front lines of a revolution whose fuse they are about to light.

Tropic of Kansas Details

TitleTropic of Kansas
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherHarper Voyager
ISBN0062563815
ISBN-139780062563811
Number of pages480 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction

Tropic of Kansas Review

  • Paul
    July 21, 2017
    Actual rating: 3.5 stars.Most dystopias exist in a near future, extrapolated from current events. Christopher Brown's takes place in the present, the extrapolation point the assassination of President Reagan in the 1980s. In the assassination's wake, Alexander Haig takes over, awarding himself a sixth star (a nice touch) and ushering in an era of powerful and autocratic governments headed by current and former military leaders. In other words, the events in "Tropic of Kansas" unfold in an altern Actual rating: 3.5 stars.Most dystopias exist in a near future, extrapolated from current events. Christopher Brown's takes place in the present, the extrapolation point the assassination of President Reagan in the 1980s. In the assassination's wake, Alexander Haig takes over, awarding himself a sixth star (a nice touch) and ushering in an era of powerful and autocratic governments headed by current and former military leaders. In other words, the events in "Tropic of Kansas" unfold in an alternate timeline, different from our own but plausible.In Brown's timeline, the civil and governmental structures of America have broken down. Wide swathes of flyover country, still nominally states, are under the control of corporations, which have denuded the land and destroyed the rivers and lakes. Policing in the part of the midwest popularly called the Tropic of Kansas is performed by gang-like civilian militias. The power of the federal government manifests itself in tight control over the media and internet, political dissent, and population movement. And prisons.The novel's two main characters are, in a way, siblings: Sig, once the white foster child of a black family, now a feral teenager on the run in the Tropic; Tania, his older foster sister, now an FBI agent in Washington DC, in trouble with fascist agents of the current all-powerful president. Tania, threatened with persecution for subversive activities, agrees to go undercover in the Tropic in order to get the goods on revolutionaries who have figured out how to communicate and organize by using obsolete radio and television technology. Sig has become involved the revolutionary movement, and Tania, working underground by posing as a friend of the revolution, increasingly focuses her efforts on finding him.My trouble with the novel is the revolution. The dystopia, as mentioned, is grounded and plausible, real and chilling. Sig and Tania, at least in earlier chapters, are well-developed characters. Their adventures, as Sig escapes from one trap after another and Tania penetrates deeper into the underground, are tense and exciting.Then, somehow, the taciturn loner Sig becomes one of the leaders of the revolution and begins spouting hippie dippy mystic crystal revelation buzzword bullshit (I almost threw my Kindle across the room when he started talking about "crowdsourcing the revolution"), and credibility goes poof. At least Tania's character remains consistent, and thank goodness, because Sig and his fellow revolutionaries go off the charts.Which is to say I loved the book until the final chapters, when I quit believing Christopher Brown's scenario. My overall impression? A fast, exciting read with a muddled and unclear end.
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  • Brittany
    April 24, 2017
    This was a fun read for me. I am really into dystopian novels, so this one was perfect for me. The characters were well developed and the plot moves along nicely. I highly recommend this book.
  • Lou
    July 15, 2017
    Sig (white, long straight hair, crazy green eyes)Tania ( black, Sig’s foster sister)KansasNew OrleansCedar RapidsMidwestPatriot MilitiasIncursions of MilitiamenInsurgentsBanditsTAZColonisationsDelugesGunsHawk-Eye Self Defence MilitiaMaxine Price author/revolutionary/separatistRogue corporate coupPolitical movementsConspiraciesTheoriesBetterment of lifeDronesA midwestern odyssey of sorts with Tania and Sig on the road in ways, one on trail of the other, the other a most wanted man, one of skill a Sig (white, long straight hair, crazy green eyes)Tania ( black, Sig’s foster sister)KansasNew OrleansCedar RapidsMidwestPatriot MilitiasIncursions of MilitiamenInsurgentsBanditsTAZColonisationsDelugesGunsHawk-Eye Self Defence MilitiaMaxine Price author/revolutionary/separatistRogue corporate coupPolitical movementsConspiraciesTheoriesBetterment of lifeDronesA midwestern odyssey of sorts with Tania and Sig on the road in ways, one on trail of the other, the other a most wanted man, one of skill and manoeuvrability and trained to defend and attack, an America gone topsy turvy in a haunting and alarming read.The author has done a great job at reporting on a world that just one does not quite want and would hope is not something that may read as historical fiction in the future.He takes you through a land where there is anarchy and fight for power between people with guns and varying agendas in wanting a different America.Guns and militia on land and Drones in the skies terrify and policing, shortages of all kinds of essentials, and reader will be hooked in reading with the element of hope through to a silent and more free and peaceful America ultimately.There is the thrill and dystopian sense of place, imaginative writing and the prose has brevity and some good craft in descriptivness keeping you reading with some thinking also, a thinking thriller.Almost a reading I could treat as an addition to the Road by Cormac McCarthy as the other side of the fence, tale of the other citizens the world the realm of that we didn’t see, masterly envisioned, stark and haunting but beauty with the human struggle intertwined with hope at hand and some heart.http://more2read.com/review/tropic-kansas-christopher-brown/
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  • Bill
    July 15, 2017
    This is an examination of what it could be like aa couple of decades post-Trump, if Liberals do not gain power. It is mostly about civil collapse and politics, but the effects of climate change are mostly implied. Brown's take on a dystopic USA future is rational and possible. He did not examine effects of Theocracy, but did of Plutocracy and Fascism. The journey is interesting. I was rather disappointed by the too quick ending and victory of the protagonists. Power to the People! An ending left This is an examination of what it could be like aa couple of decades post-Trump, if Liberals do not gain power. It is mostly about civil collapse and politics, but the effects of climate change are mostly implied. Brown's take on a dystopic USA future is rational and possible. He did not examine effects of Theocracy, but did of Plutocracy and Fascism. The journey is interesting. I was rather disappointed by the too quick ending and victory of the protagonists. Power to the People! An ending left up to the reader would have made it better in some ways. Well written, a quick and easy read: 7 of 10 stars
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  • Christopher Shawn
    May 25, 2017
    In the not-too-distant future, the United States is no more. Warring factions have divided up the country, and what's left of the federal government holds absolute control over those it still governs. The Constitution has been suspended, and "permanent emergency" powers have given the President, a former television star, dictator-like status.This all seemed so far-fetched not so long ago.Militias have taken control of large swaths of land, and operate their own brutal prisons, with only the fain In the not-too-distant future, the United States is no more. Warring factions have divided up the country, and what's left of the federal government holds absolute control over those it still governs. The Constitution has been suspended, and "permanent emergency" powers have given the President, a former television star, dictator-like status.This all seemed so far-fetched not so long ago.Militias have taken control of large swaths of land, and operate their own brutal prisons, with only the faintest whiff of government oversight. An underground resistance is growing, using smuggled information, weapons, and currency as a means to restore civilization to the former America. A wild-eyed young man, his sister, and the idealists they meet along the way set off in this incredible adventure full of action, intrigue, and the feeling that it may not be all that "science fiction" in the very near future.
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  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    July 19, 2017
    Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown is a highly recommended dystopian/political satire set in the alternate reality of a future, fractured USA.Sig was an illegal from the USA hiding in Canada, until he was caught and sent back over the border wall into the area that was once Minnesota. Now the Midwest is just part of a wasteland of warring factions and provincial militia groups. This area has been dubbed The Tropic of Kansas and is known for the third world lawlessness that thrives there and t Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown is a highly recommended dystopian/political satire set in the alternate reality of a future, fractured USA.Sig was an illegal from the USA hiding in Canada, until he was caught and sent back over the border wall into the area that was once Minnesota. Now the Midwest is just part of a wasteland of warring factions and provincial militia groups. This area has been dubbed The Tropic of Kansas and is known for the third world lawlessness that thrives there and the various greedy leaders who control parts of it. Sig, the son of political dissidents, is a survivor and escape artist. He essentially trusts no one. He's difficult to keep as a prisoner because he will find a way to escape. He will also find a way to survive.Tania was once Sig's foster sister. Sig's mother dropped him off at her house for Tania's mother to care for when her arrest was imminent. Tania is now a government investigator. She got into a little trouble in Washington D.C. and is now looking for Sig to rectify her mistake and to try to get her own mother free from imprisonment. When Tanis goes searching for Sig, she comes to terms with her own past and perhaps the direction of her future.Chapters alternate between Tania and Sig. You'll be rooting for Sig as he manages to escape from one predicament, betrayal, and impressionist after another. You'll also be hoping Tania sees the light, and the corruption of the government, and finds Sig along with a new goal for herself.Brown takes present ideological differences, technology, factions, and widely different beliefs among citizens in the USA today and escalates all of it into a dystopian setting while setting his characters into this action packed satire. It's a wild ride through politics, drones, guns, and bullies. It's also an easy to read novel, with short chapters that avoid much detailed descriptions of settings or other characters. This is entertaining - certainly a good airplane book. It is worth noting that you should anticipate that Brown will hit you over the head with pc politics along with the expectation that you will naturally believe all that he believes. But, since this is also set in an alternate reality USA, it is much easier to just go with the flow and accept any precautionary statements that might be leached out of the adventure.Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2017/0...
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  • Wilma
    June 22, 2017
    I won this book as a giveaway from Goodreads. I found it to be a mix of dystopian, adventure, politics and futuristic robots. The USA is no longer what it was. It has been torn into different territories with a huge area of land in the center which is known as Tropic of Kansas. No longer the breadbasket of America the land has been ruined by greed. The president has become a dictator and places like the Superdome in New Orleans holds many political prisoners. Enter the two main characters...Sig, I won this book as a giveaway from Goodreads. I found it to be a mix of dystopian, adventure, politics and futuristic robots. The USA is no longer what it was. It has been torn into different territories with a huge area of land in the center which is known as Tropic of Kansas. No longer the breadbasket of America the land has been ruined by greed. The president has become a dictator and places like the Superdome in New Orleans holds many political prisoners. Enter the two main characters...Sig, a teenage orphan whose parents were killed as dissidents when he was young and his foster sister Tania who works as a government investigator. Sig turns out to be quite an elusive character and every time he's captured he manages to escape and wreak havoc wherever he goes. Tania comes to the realization of just how awful the government is that she's working for and so she switches sides. She has come into possession of some explosive material that would truly hurt the government if she can find a way to get the information out to the masses. I liked the book but I thought some of Sig's exploits a little over the top.
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  • Rodney Perkins
    July 22, 2017
    Extraordinary science-fiction about an alternative version of America that is not so far removed from the one in which we currently live. Civil war, environmental catastrophe, detention camps, authoritarianism, mass surveillance, autonomous war robots and drones, government working in tandem with military contractors and citizen militias, monkey-wrenching, anarchism (temporary autonomous zones) and much much more. Intelligent, fast-paced and brimming with interesting ideas. Octavia Butler refere Extraordinary science-fiction about an alternative version of America that is not so far removed from the one in which we currently live. Civil war, environmental catastrophe, detention camps, authoritarianism, mass surveillance, autonomous war robots and drones, government working in tandem with military contractors and citizen militias, monkey-wrenching, anarchism (temporary autonomous zones) and much much more. Intelligent, fast-paced and brimming with interesting ideas. Octavia Butler references? This recalls the kind of sci-fi that Gibson, Sterling, Stephenson et al were writing in the 90s. Highly recommended.
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  • Clay Hackett
    June 13, 2017
    A disturbingly fun journey through an alternate-reality America where most everything has gone wrong except the hearts and minds of those who believe it could be better. With chapters that come at you like burst fire from an automatic, it presents a clear-eyed view of power, government, and potential. Brown's love for each topic, even (if not especially) the peripheral details, seep through the pages and make this one a keeper.
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  • Paul
    July 23, 2017
    a feral dys/utopiaBrown imagines a parallel US where Reagan was shot and Alexander Haig took control, which looks a lot like the US we might all be living in soon. it's a sort of vision for the future, and what might come after the apocalypse. but above and below it all, it's the story of two siblings who choose different paths to the same place, and Brown heartfully doesn't let that get lost amid the "thriller" part of the story.
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  • Bob White
    July 29, 2017
    About 175 pages in - it's a good read so far. It's an alternative history but definitely a possible outcome. It's written in a tight and very controlled style without a lot of surplus language. Main characters are easy to root for because they're definitely not perfect.Will update when I'm done but so far pretty good!
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  • Christian Paula
    July 28, 2017
    Political dystopia was not on my want to read genre wish list, but man, this was fantastic. Not a warm and fuzzy, but an exhilarating read about how decentralized revolution might still happen in the modern age. Get ready for a high body count though.
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  • Le Ann
    July 6, 2017
    I really wanted to love this book. I understood the overall plot, but not all of the details that made up that plot. It was just a little over my head. I may just need to reread.
  • Brynn
    July 28, 2017
    Pretty interesting alternate timeline diverging in the 80's. Felt the ending was the weakest part, but imaginative until then.
  • Rana
    July 30, 2017
    Fascinating story and world-building but very choppy between chapters. And oddly so, like the e-pub version was missing pages but it wasn't. The jump between characters and scenes just wasn't smooth.
  • Agustina
    July 10, 2017
    A real page turner. Love the prose style. Deeply entertaining. The audio version is equally enjoyable.
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