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CAUT Bulletin Archives

October 2001

Virtual Freedom

Sean Kane. Toronto: McArthur & Company, 2001; 323 pp; paper $24.95 CA.
"I have a message for the congeries of scabby detrimentals down there. Apocalypse Now! The new corporate order has arrived!" So bellows the incoming Chairman of the Board of Governors of Avalon University as he buzzes the campus in his private float plane. When the corporate jaws close on Avalon University, the result is a display of ebullient personality and high-spirited intrigue not seen in the campus novel since David Lodge's Small World. The ideals of knowledge as its own reward and learning as preparation for citizenship are still strong at Avalon in spite of the fact that the Sixties activists who pioneered this intellectual Camelot are retiring. Retired, they are hanging out at the local shopping mall built on university land, where they persist in teaching in their Convocation robes, cap-in-hand, for handouts for their dental plan. The chairman of the board can't get rid of them. Neither can Cameron Galt, his new dean brought in to downsize the university and make it compatible with cyberspace. Rationalizing an oral village should be easy. But what dean Galt doesn't bargain for is the power of a free-spirited community to redefine his marriage and embrace him in its dream of virtual freedom. Shortlisted for the 1999 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, this on-campus cult classic will tickle the funny bones of a much wider audience this fall.

This review produced from information supplied by publisher.