We cure cancer — and dystopia is the result, in Albert Brooks' first novel

Writer/director Albert Brooks may have predicted reality TV with his 1979 movie Real Life, and now he's got an even more dire prediction. In his first novel, coming next May, he has some nasty visions for the year 2030.

The novel's title isn't exactly subtle: 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America. And publisher St. Martin's Press makes it sound pretty blatant in their description of it, too. St. Martin's says it takes place at a time when "a population that has finally been freed from the scourge of cancer is dramatically aging, sparking resentment against the ‘olds' and leading to a nation so hamstrung by entitlements and debt that its only way out are solutions heretofore unthinkable."

Our aging population is a real, pressing problem, and one that policy-makers don't really have great solutions for. But Brooks' interview with the New York Times doesn't fill me with optimism that he's going to handle it in a smart way. The novel deals with these generational dynamics among "a dozen major characters," and Brooks says he was motivated to write it by watching the younger generation come up behind him:

We took to the streets for the Vietnam War. But there's other reasons that kids should take to the streets. They just haven't gotten there yet. And from what I'm reading, with the iPhone 6, they won't have to.

Ooh, those kids with their iPhones. I'm not sure what he's actually saying here — that the kids are too lazy and disconnected because of their fancy gadgets? Or that the ability to network using our smartphones and other toys allows us to make a difference in the world without having to take to the streets?

In either case, Oldpocalypse 2030 is coming to stores in less than a year, so we'll find out soon.

Yes, that cover image is from a different book called 2030, because there's no cover image for this book yet.