Yes - this book is written by LeVar Burton. Yes - the LeVar Burton from Reading Rainbow, and the LeVar Burton who played Geordi Laforge in Star Trek: TNG. I originally bought the book just because it was written by Geordi. I was sad to find that the book wasn't written for me - a simple, colorless science fiction fan. The book was made, and he prefaced this by saying, for black science fiction fans so they could have black heroes to look up to.
While I think that's great, it really was glareing throughout the novel that was what he was trying to accomplish. While this book has some really good ideas, and some very scary ones that seem awfully plausible to me (One word: skinners!), the race issue was just too prevalent for me to have enjoyed it much.
But, hey, it was written by Geordi - definitely worth a once over for a fan!
I'll be honest. I first read this book in part because of the somewhat suspiciously negative reviews I saw by some here who were uncomfortable with this book's views on race. One even called its author a racist. That simply didn't match up with what I knew of the author. That view seemed even more completely nonsensical to me after reading this book. This novel seems like a somewhat flawed but well-intentioned story of a racially diverse, post-apocalyptic survivors of an America divided who unite in a common cause for variety of reasons, some spiritual, some humanitarian, and others with far more familial motivations. While the destruction of America was motivated in part by race in this story, its story line is reminiscent in certain ways of better known novels like Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, Frank's Alas, Babylon, or Orson Scott Card's short story collection Folk of the Fringe. While inferior to those stories it isn't a bad story, though those who see racism against white people(or pretend to see it) in the idea that the potential for such damaging white racism isn't entirely located in the past may want to look elsewhere.
I don't think Burton sat down and thought about what kind of a book he wanted to write before he started. Science Fiction? Apocalyptic? Metaphysical? Racial commentary? What he produces is a poorly constructed combination of them all. Some pretty good action scenes made it readable, but his overtly racist views made it uncomfortable to read. He should stick to acting.