Review by Stephen Clarke-Willson
2002 03 17
Robert Klassen was a student of Andrew J. Galambos for many years and decided to help the “floodgates open” by writing a novel. Atlantis isn’t really about Volitional Science, but it has strong influences from it, as well as from Lysander Spooner, Henry David Thoreau and a dose of Ayn Rand.
I had read a draft of another book by a student of Galambos; that book wasn’t very good, and read like a lecture, so I was a bit concerned when I picked up Atlantis that I might be in for a painful experience.
Imagine my delight to find a book with a real story, characters, action sequences, and of course, the theme of private ownership. I actually looked forward to reading more of the book! And I was sad when it was over.
I would contrast this experience with reading Atlas Shrugged, which was for me a forced effort (especially the final pages-upon-pages lecture at the end). I pushed on because it was a book I was “supposed” to read.
On the other hand, Atlantis left me wanting more.
Klassen mixes it up nicely; his story is post-the-fall of the
The story actually follows several threads, from a young boy and girl who
are hiking cross country in search of the city of
The story moves right along; most important for me, is that Klassen doesn’t start with the lectures about the benefits of private property vs. statism until he has established the characters and made me care. And the lectures are in small doses and mostly integrate well with the story and move the story forward.
The big long lectures in Atlas Shrugged nearly put me to sleep. I wanted to know more about that cool secret city, Galt’s Gulch. So did Klassen. In an email to me, he wrote, “Imagine, Galt makes the sign of the dollar over a blasted and ruined civilization and says, okay, folks, it's time to go back. Go back to what?” Exactly, why would anyone want to leave their own cool secret city? Why not use that as a base and expand?
In some ways, Atlantis doesn’t seem like an important book, and that is because, unlike Atlas Shrugged, it doesn’t read like a self-important book. It is easily accessible and to me that makes it more important than Atlas Shrugged. It is an easy read and the theme of private ownership is interwoven with the characters and the story in such a way as to not bash you over the head with it. And to me that makes all the difference.
I highly recommend Atlantis, A Novel about Economic Government to anyone interested in free enterprise, Objectivism, Volitional Science, or simply a good story.
Back to Above the Garage Productions
Shortly after I published this review to the web, Robert wrote to me,
clarifying the date of publication. He
said, “Some small history: I began to write this novel in 1991 after the
death of my wife, another student of Galambos. I completed it in 1997 and
published it on-line in February on my own web site with a copyright date of
1997. White Knight Publishing in
1997 for accurate historical P1 accounting purposes.”