The Syndic

C. M. Kornbluth
The Syndic Cover

The Syndic, or The Sopranos Become the Government


Kornbluth explores an alternate Earth where different regions have developed vastly different social and political systems. He focuses on the North American continent, where the United States government has been overthrown and ejected from the continent by a libertarian syndicate system, one that runs on monetizing "immorality" and extracting wealth through extorion and protection rackets.

There are other systems presented in the novel, most importantly the Mob, which runs the old US west of the Mississippi. Kornbluth contrasts the Syndicate system from the Mob system in detail, but it is clear there are more similarities than differences.

There is no neat end to the story, just a realization that people will be what they are, and however that happens it will have deep problems and challenges. It's as well written as much of Kornbluth's work, but it just seems to skim over the larger issues.