Lionel Shriver’s most recent novel opens in the bleak Brooklyn of the near future, with dramatic water shortages, $20 cabbages, no newspapers, and no coffee. But it gets worse. America, no longer a major world power, is on the brink of a catastrophic financial meltdown that will destroy society’s precarious recovery from a temporary technological collapse. After the United States defaults on its loans and the dollar becomes virtually worthless overnight, the federal government invokes an executive order requiring all citizens to relinquish their gold. House-jacking becomes commonplace, and the displaced end up in a vast encampment in Prospect Park. And three generations of the Mandible family no longer have the expected eventual inheritance that was the fortune of their 97-year-old patriarch. What makes this view of New York especially scary is that it doesn’t feel too fantastical: There are no marauding zombies or Earth-shattering asteroids or global pandemics. Instead, there are disappearing Treasury bonds and hyperinflation. It’s a disaster story that could run on CNBC, which seems much more realistic — and, therefore, much more terrifying.