City of Truth

James Morrow,

City of Truth
 
 
This “delightful” Nebula Award–winning novella about a world without lies has “a sharp, unmerciful edge that would have pleased old Jonathan Swift” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
 
Truth reigns supreme in the city-state of Veritas. Not even politicians lie, and weirdly frank notices abound—such as warning: this elevator maintained by people who hate their jobs: ride at your own risk. In this dystopia of mandatory candor, every preadolescent citizen is ruthlessly conditioned, through a Skinnerian ordeal called a “brainburn,” to speak truthfully under all circumstances.

Jack Sperry wouldn’t dream of questioning the norms of Veritas; he’s happy with his life and his respectable job as a “deconstructionist,” destroying “mendacious” works of art—relics from a less honest era. But when his adored son, Toby, falls gravely ill, the truth becomes Jack’s greatest enemy. Somehow our hero must overcome his brainburn and attempt to heal his child with beautiful lies.

Alternately hilarious and moving, City of Truth thoughtfully explores the pitfalls inherent in any attempt to engineer a perfect society.


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