Cerulean Blue
Wray Miller
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Buy *Cerulean Blue* by Wray Miller

Cerulean Blue
Wray Miller
506 pages
September 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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If you’re a fan of dystopian SF, check out Wray Miller’s provocative cautionary novel Cerulean Blue. It’s a tale that makes real many people’s worst fears about what might happen if the United Nations were ever to become headed by a ruthless and despotic, though very intelligent, dictator. In Miller’s novel, the UN has been turned into a gigantic corporation known as the United Nations Corporation (or Uni-Corp) – its motto: “We Saved The World.” The Chairman of the Board is Mr. Reginald Erlichman, and by selling the nations of Earth the idea that the only way to save the Earth from us and our pollution is by leaving it alone for thirty years to recover, he is responsible for a worldwide holocaust and war in which billions perish.

Cerulean Blue is a type of blue-colored algae instrumental to Erlichmann’s plans to save the Earth, and to wrest power and political clout for himself. His plan divides mankind into three types – based not on race, color, or religion, but on intelligence, genetic purity and health, and whether one conforms to his plans or decides to rebel against them. The Type I and II people will be preserved, albeit in glass tubes filled with the liquified algae. Each year spent in the tubes, they will only age a day in comparison to everyone else. However, the Type I people must possess IQs above 150 and meet other requirements, such as having neither physical nor genetic defects. The Type II people’s genetic traits might eventually get harvested and passed on, but (although they’ve not been informed of it) there are no plans to ever reanimate them. The Type IIIs who make up most of humanity will be euthanized and never get the chance to be reawakened.

One of the lead heroic characters in the novel, Harold Womack, has formed a small group of rebels with his family members, friends, and like-minded people. He, his son Chuck, daughters Lily and Lynn, and a friend’s son, Doug, infiltrate a Type-II storage facility and retrieve and reanimate Dr. Terrence Blackwell, who originated the idea to store bodies in Cerulean Blue, and his son, Nathaniel. Initially he is reluctant to believe how Erlichmann perverted his noble intentions and used it to usurp power, until Womack tells him what’s really been going on while Blackwell has been in hibernation:

“If you’re trying to tell me that Reginald Erlichmann has instituted some sort of Master Race Selections forget it!” shouted Blackwell indignantly. “That sort of thing could never happen.”

“Tell that to the four hundred million that have been assigned to a Type III Repository,” said Womack quietly.

“Four hundred million?” repeated Nathaniel, astonished.

“That figure is several months old, so it’s decidedly larger now,” retorted Womack. “Then of course there’s the nearly one billion eradicated during the Moslem Wars.”
The Moslem Wars were fought not for oil or fatwahs, but because the Israel and the governments of the Middle East and North Africa stood in opposition to the plan. Israel, Miller writes, “was eradicated, along with most of the governments of the Middle East and North Africa.” After these countries no longer have anyone alive to form pockets of resistance, Erlichmann wants to go after the Communist countries - the Russians, Ukrainians, Chinese, Koreans, and others.

Numerous glaring and disconcerting grammatical errors detract from enjoyment of the novel. They often interrupt what otherwise is a smoothly flowing, well-thought-out story. However they made it into the novel, they shouldn’t have, and affect adversely the reading experience.

The events of the novel, published in November 2002, aren’t about some distant future but the current era. This dating detracts from the tale’s plausibility (though plausibility is not necessarily crucial for a novel to be enjoyed). Famous examples of novels with dates in their titles that have come and passed include George Orwell’s 1984 and Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odessey. People around the world still read these novels and enjoy them, despite the dates of their titles having come and gone.

Cerulean Blue is a provocative, ambitious novel that has much to recommend it, and I would like to read more by the author. It does have its flaws - it’s kind of difficult to imagine how an army of Eurocops could be waging massive wars and searching for rebels when supposedly most of humanity has been placed into tubes; but, if you can put things like this aside and get into the plot, it will reward you with many hours of reading pleasure.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Douglas R. Cobb, 2009

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