As might be expected from a novel by the author of Thank You for Smoking, Boomsday spares no one from the sting of satire — not the U.S. government, not the Catholic Church, not the French. Even little old-folks homes get kicked around a bit. The story takes place in a not-so-distant future in which the U.S. is engaged in six wars, the economy is ”flatter’n a pancake” due to a $1.1 trillion deficit, and citizens under age 35 face tax hikes of 30 percent to pay for the retirement of 77 million baby boomers. For 29-year-old PR maven-cum-blogger Cassandra Devine, this last point is unacceptable. Why should she and her peers (a.k.a. ”Generation W,” short for whatever) shoulder the burden of that ”self-indulgent, pampered” group of ”Wrinklies”? Fed up, she devises a plan: Get opportunistic Sen. Randy Jepperson to sponsor a bill urging boomers to commit suicide — voluntarily ”transition” themselves, in PR speak — at age 70. Soon, a bill that ”began as a turd in the Capitol Hill punch bowl” becomes a decisive election-year issue.
There’s no shortage of laughs in Boomsday, even if the jokes are not always subtle. (Cassandra?s archconservative foe hails from the Society for the Protection of Every Ribonucleic Molecule. Yes, SPERM.) But Buckley’s ace storytelling trumps any shortcomings. And when you’re as ticked off about the state of our country as Buckley seems to be, who has time for subtlety? A-