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Against the Machine

Against the Machine


By Brian Van Norman

Mel Buckworth, dependable family man, loses his manufacturing job through recession. Having lost his sense of purpose his pride sidelines him as he discerns his lack of digital skills so apparent in his children’s generation. He is galled by his daughter Dani’s university friend, Stanley Best, who is about to achieve fame in the fields of nano technology and artificial intelligence. As Mel desperately attempts to find equilibrium he estranges his family, leaves his wife and enlists the help of a greedy grad student. Will Baker teaches Mel the skills he will need to wreak revenge on a system seemingly discarding him. As his aptitudes grow he begins to use the internet, the very thing he despised, as a weapon to inflict his reprisals. Slowly he turns terrorist to deliver his message: that humans will succumb to machines and the social system controlling them. As his acts grow more lethal, Mel knows he must make an indelible declaration. A “manifesto” to be remembered.


Guernica Editions (Essential Prose Series)


400 pages |

Regular price $25.00 CAD
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In Against the Machine: Manifesto, Brian Van Norman interlaces some unexpected threads. His protagonist Mel Buckworth loses his long-time industrial job, while the “winners” seem to be those riding the new cybernetics waves. Van Norman raises questions about the nature of work, the effects of our wired world on the human psyche, and the ways in which people both love and hurt each other. Well worth reading.

John Oughton, author of Death by Triangulation

Against the Machine: Manifesto Van Norman’s diligence and dedication to detail has created a tour de force exceedingly well crafted and exhibiting an astonishing insight into the intricacies of people’s minds and human nature.

James Terry, author and moderator of The Reading Room

In the second book by Van Norman (and one hopes this will be a trilogy) the battle of man against machine is played out in Waterloo Region where Mel Buckworth, a modern-day Everyman, is replaced by the onslaught of technology. This book is a fascinating study of why mankind needs to remain in control of his own designs.

Bruce Meyer, author of Grace of Falling Stars

Van Norman’s Manifesto is so richly detailed with all of the descriptions so vivid that we are unwittingly taken outside of ourselves and magically transported to a different time and place. Find here, in the pages of Manifesto the struggle of man against machine against man. The past raging against the present will surely define the future. You’re invited.

David Menear, author of Swallows Playing Chicken

Interesting and thought-provoking, exploring issues around technology’s impact on society while at the same time offering a suspenseful narrative.

Miramichi Reader


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About the author

Once a teacher, theatre director and adjudicator, Brian Van Norman left those worlds behind to travel the planet with his wife, Susan, and take up writing as a full time pursuit. With four novels currently on the market: The Betrayal Path, Immortal Water and his previous novel, Against the Machine: Luddites. Against the Machine: Manifesto is the second book in this trilogy, and is currently researching for the third and final book of the Against the Machine trilogy. He has journeyed to every continent and sailed nearly every sea on the planet. His base is Waterloo, Ontario, Canada though he is seldom found there but for this year of the Covid pandemic.