Adios America by Paul Clayton - A Review

Paul Hair

Adios America by Paul Clayton – a Review
Adios America by Paul Clayton – a Review

This is a dystopian story about a man with bleak prospects, backed into a corner, but who still has the will to live. The main character is an older man trying to escape mandatory euthanasia in an American future much like what Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Occasio-Cortez envision. In an ironic turnaround from our present reality, Americans pay coyotes to smuggle them into Mexico. At least that's what the protagonist is planning and saving for. Like his wife, he was supposed to report for termination when he reached a certain age. Unlike her, he went on the run instead. Now homeless, he almost has enough money saved up to bribe the coyote. Something I particularly liked about this story is the moral shortcuts the protagonist had to take to survive in a hostile society. I groan when a hero is so invested in some arbitrary code of conduct (or so foolish) that they refuse to take the weapon of a fallen enemy who was just trying to kill him moments ago. Especially in a morally bankrupt police state, it would be impossible to survive (much less accomplish anything good and worthwhile) without breaking some rules. Paul Clayton seems to understand that. This character breaks some rules, and is smart about it. But his love of literature causes him to push his luck too far, just when he's acquired what he needs to escape. This is a quick read which you might could say is "hardboiled," due to its grim pragmatism. It is just one of the tales in Appalling Stories 4. Previously, I reviewed another Appalling Story: My Lai by David Dubrow. I intended to review others from the same volume in quick succession, but life got in the way. Nevertheless, I' should get at least a few done soon.

Adios America by Paul Clayton - A Review