In the summer of 2011, riots broke out in London in response to the police shooting of a young black man under questionable circumstances. As the riots continue, two on-line personalities take to the airwaves, battling for the future of the city. Chester George, a masked man whose identity is unknown, uses YouTube to call for general anarchy by the ‘real’ citizens against corrupt authority, while Sadie Hobbs, a controversial blogger and TV reality star calls for the ‘normal’ citizens to rise up and take the city back from the ‘feral’ thugs.
While the shooting incident and subsequent rioting are actual events, from that point on, L-2011 by Mark Gillespie, is pure alternate history. What if, it asks, the riots never stopped? It then follows events, from a national level to the viewpoint of Mack Walker, a 16-year-old Scot, newly arrived in London from Edinburgh, as he gets caught up in the course of events and joins the crowd for the final showdown that will determine the fate of a nation.
A twisted tale, L-2011 not only shows the sometimes-corrosive effect of social media, but delves into the psychological state of those affected. A chilling story that will cause you to think about the current state of the world we live in, and ask yourself, ‘what if this is not fiction, but reality waiting to happen?
I give it four stars.