2028 by Ken Saunders – don’t judge a book by its cover!

Posted on February 10, 2019



Ken Saunders

Allen & Unwin


978 1 76063 106 2

There is that old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. And in this case that really is true.

The cover of 2028 really is a poxy piece of crap that just about anyone could have done. I had little difficulty in knocking a rough copy in Microsoft Publisher. And my graphic design skills are close to nil. Clearly every expense has been spared. Publishers understand a poor cover puts people off pretty quickly, so it really is a headscratcher why Allen & Unwin went with the insipid rubbish they ultimately did. The cover’s single redeeming feature is the list of names from within comedy circles giving this book it a big thumbs up.

Fortunately, I did decide to have a bit of a look. It was those names and their comments along with the back-cover blurb which made me decide to go past that crappy cover and give 2028 a go.

What do I call it? Probably comic realism. Only set ten years into the future (now nine), it is all quite recognisable. And yet bloody different. Something such as essential human character doesn’t really change. But what if the usual political class who seem to govern for the sake of governing while keeping the other mob out, suddenly find themselves really challenged, especially after the Greens have gone into receivership? By nobodies who all seem to able to contribute together, who all go by the same name, regardless of gender, and despite all the odds against them, are gaining the upper hand?

I know first hand that writing comedy is hard yakka. When writing prose intended to be read rather than performed, it is that much harder again. For a novel, things start heading towards Herculean territory. To keep the necessary tension as well as the laughs across that extended duration is a bloody hard job. That is why successful half-hour television shows generally bomb as a film – the problem being how to keep that essential comedic tension across 90 minutes instead of 30 (22 once you allow for credits and ad time). The same problem applies to writing a comedy novel – how do you translate some funny events and ideas into an 80,000-word narrative and make it all hang together?

Ken Saunders has done an excellent job. His people are often funny in themselves. Individual events are funny. It becomes preposterous bullshit that manages to retain its connections to our reality. Some it really is sheer lunacy such as the Communist Party of China having reshaped itself into competing arms of a multinational corporation. But in the story, it works! Bewdy!

2028 should have wide appeal. If you have any political interests, you will find plenty of amusement here. If you don’t give a bugger about politics, you will still find plenty of fun in the set-ups and events.

I would not be surprised to see this appearing on our television screens before too much longer. Hopefully whoever develops it for the small screen doesn’t go buggering things up by eliminating the things that make this story work.

Ken Saunders – blood good job, mate. And now I need to go change my name to Ned Ludd (go read the book to understand that).


Ross sig

Posted in: Review