This would make for a fun Saturday Morning Cartoon.
I must be in a minority, but I actually like the book as a work of fiction — despite disliking it as a work of philosophy. It's not just that I disagree with the politics (I do); it's the anvilicious, boring, repetitive way they are presented that makes it hard to take the book seriously as a political work. The cartoonish villains don't help matters — it seems to me that if you want to make serious philosophical arguments, building your entire work on a bunch of Straw Men isn't a great approach.
As a story, on the other hand, Atlas Shrugged
is actually pretty enjoyable. It's a refreshing change of pace to read a tale where the protagonists are industrialists and the conflict is over their attempt to create great industrial works — if nothing else, it's certainly different from most other novels out there, and the plot is handled well. The heroes are a bit Mary Sue-ish, but they're still interesting to watch. Dagny is an awesome strong female character — well, for the most part — especially considering when the book was written. I became genuinely engaged with her quest to thwart the phantom "Destroyer" and overcome the machinations of the corrupt government.
The cartoonish villains, when viewed as parts of an entertaining story, rather than of a political treatise, become as fun as any moustache-twirling bad guy out there (think Dick Dastardly, or Stargate's
Goa'uld). I found myself truly eager to turn the next page to find out what awesome bit of metaphorical butt-kicking Dagny and Hank are going to deliver to that dastardly Mouch and his minions!
I just wish this fun, cartoonish story would stop taking frequent breaks for long, repetitive speeches about the benefits of the Gold Standard, or whatever. Admittedly, the speeches are well-written bits of demagoguery, but they all say mostly the same things, and get old fast
There is one way in which this book succeeds on a deeper level: It presents a genuinely engaging and inspiring vision of work
as something that should be a joyful achievement, rather than pointless drudgery. Interestingly, this view can also be found in many books arguing for very
different philosophies - including old pieces of communist propaganda! But, admittedly, Rand does it well. There are parts of this book can genuinely inspire the patient and open-minded reader.