The Krakow Klub by Philip C Elrod

The Krakow Klub is a speculative science-fiction conspiracy novel that focuses on the dangers of infinite technology and wealth. The secretive super-rich elitist group, The Krakow Klub, is plotting to finalise its takeover of the United States government. But something unprecedented occurs when the President suddenly announces that he will step down, setting into motion a series of events akin to a political earthquake.

John F Scott has limitless alien technology at his disposal, and decides to use its weaponry and wealth to preserve the US constitution from socialism. He even has his own space-station operated by an unrestrained giant alien (Mylean) computer called Maxx. Unfortunately, Maxx has an unpredictable emotional module, which adds to John’s worries that Maxx will somehow misuse the immense weaponry against “earthlings”. The space-station descriptions reminded me of sci-fi films that use a similar, patient, make-them-familiar-with-surroundings technique. The Krakow Klub improves, a lot, after Chapter Nine (70%) when the Dragon Lady/Number Eleven is introduced and the reader is given a real example of Mylean technology at work on Earth. The chapters afterward contain action/battle scenes that put the battle for the US government into context, and make John panic.

Criticism: At 10%, I didn’t identify with John because I didn’t think there was much to his personality. In a nutshell: he makes plans, dislikes the way the US constitution is being eroded by socialism, and most of all he is lonely and seeks companionship; the only thing he lacks. The sub-character introductions and technological briefs were a lot to absorb and unnecessary to the plot most of the time. At 20% I was still anxious to move beyond what was academic. Circumstances were often thought by some characters then repeated in dialogue later on. Sometimes the speculative predictions would tell me what was going to happen before the scene occurred. This detracted the thunderous surprise from events.

Overall, I found The Krakow Klub to be different from expectations in that its focus was on character and not plot; a lot of new characters were introduced, but John wasn’t properly challenged. There was character building and much humour. I suppose these elements didn’t reach out to me personally, but they may appeal to others. I can imagine the book’s audience being more political-economic readers.

Reviewed by Alex James