A M Wilson was my guest for Episode 81 of the GSMC Book Review Podcast. A M joined me to talk about his debut novel, Populace, which is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic story set in the year 2151 after much of the US has been destroyed by a series of nuclear blasts.
AMERICA 2151NEW YORK. WASHINGTON. CHICAGO. LOS ANGELES. ALL WIPED OUT FROM NUCLEAR BLASTS.The New United States of America is centered in Omaha, where the Leviathan Corporation provides a muted, controlled existence for its populace. Synthetic drugs keep them sane. The people are safe — for now — from the threats on the outside.Summoned to the president’s office, unlikely hero Thomas Ignatius Stout receives an extraordinary mission: Hunt down and return, dead or alive, the vicious killer responsible for destroying the lives of millions and millions of Americans, Joe Ikowski, who remains a thorn in the government's side. Tom accepts his burden and leads an expedition past Omaha's protective barrier and into the great unknown.That’s when Tom’s journey really begins.Taking him from Kentucky to Arizona to Mexicali and the Rocky Mountains, Tom finds far more than he is searching for — and starts to learn the deeply complicated, disturbing truths of his own identity and a world in which he had only before scratched the surface.In this poignant page-turner, a novel that blends elements of science fiction, political thrillers and an Orwellian-style future, rising novelist AM Wilson takes readers on a wild ride inside what could become the future of the United States, if we ruin ourselves from the inside. It’s a novel that will make you think, no matter what you think of America. (Source)
This particular genre isn't for everyone. If you're looking for pure escapism or a nice beach read, you might want to look elsewhere. But if you're looking for an incredibly well written, thoughtful, and somewhat frightening book, you should definitely check out Populace. It's somewhat frightening because it could so easily be true. It reminded me a lot of the dystopian novels I read in High School English, and A M says he was influenced by Brave New World for the concept of this book. To be honest, this isn't my go-to genre, and it can sometimes take me awhile to get into this type of story, but A M's writing is great and the story definitely sucked me in once it got going. I needed to know what the heck was going on and what was going to happen to Tom.
- Science Fiction
What I enjoyed:
- A M's writing. He has a unique way of putting words together that I found fascinating and even beautiful at times.
- Tom. Not so much Tom as a character, per se, but seeing the world through Tom's eyes. He's lived his whole life inside the walls of Omaha, medicated and complacent. Once he gets outside the walls he begins to see everything in a new way, and the reader gets to take that journey with him.
- The way the book kept heading in directions I wasn't quite expecting.
- Is it weird to say the book cover? It's fairly simple, and yet the more I stare at it the more I like it.
- "His work consisted of 20 percent insinuation, 15.5 percent innuendo and 60 percent rumor, with the remainder deemed 'fact' - just enough to give the vague scent of truth to whatever it was he wrote about."
- "'I don't think there's an alternative. All of us, all the time. We limit ourselves by our choices, and those choices are limited by our circumstances, and those circumstances are limited by other's choices that put us in that place, and around and around we go.'"
- "His personality rested on the strands of a spider's web, and so he wrote, When all around us is a lie, how can we trust our own selves as true?"
Where you can find A M online:
Amazon Author Page: A M Wilson
GoodReads: A.M. Wilson
There's no truth here. I'm not a preacher, and I'd fail at being an idol. I've loved telling stories since I couldn't see over a kitchen counter but would watch my grandmother craft pie crust through the nook in her arm. I've always loved humor — humor that challenges our worldview, humor that gets us through hard times, humor that makes us realize our own humanity. And my burden is simple: I believe everything is possible.I'm from Flint, Mich., originally, but I've moved around a lot -- to Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, California, Spain and Argentina. I've been a journalist, a farmer, a groundskeeper, a librarian, a fast-food worker, a bagboy, a political organizer and a shill.I've loved and lost then loved again.Who am I? I'm AM Wilson; I'm wide awake, it's morning. And as Bob Dylan said, "I am a farmer. And whoever heard of a fatalistic farmer?"
To hear the interview with A M, please click here.