The Heap by Sean Adams
eBook review copy; 320 pages
The Heap by Sean Adams is a highly
recommended dystopian novel chronicling the rise, fall, and recovery
effort of a massive high rise complex.
Los Verticalés was a massive high rise housing complex in the desert.
Towering nearly 500 stories tall, the complex collapsed into what is
called "the Heap," a pile of rubble covering 20 acres. A community of
Dig Hands now live nearby in CamperTown. In exchange for digging gear, a
rehabilitated bicycle, a tiny trailer, and a
small living stipend, Dig Hands spend their days removing debris,
trash, and bodies from the building’s mountainous remains. Orville
Anders is a dig hand who, along with his co-worker Lydia, and many
others, is looking for his brother, Bernard. Miraculously Bernard has
survived the collapse and is broadcasting his radio show from somewhere
in the Heap. Orville calls in to Bernard's show every night after work
and talks to him on air.
Chapters in this debut novel feature chapters from the present day
life in the community of Dig Hands in CamperTown after the collapse and
glimpses into life in Los Verticalés and the residents before the
collapse. Life in the tower beforehand had two very different groups of
inner and outer residents - those who could
still see natural light through their apartment windows, and the rest
who had to rely on images on UV screens. Life in CamperTown is a third
very different community with its own set of rules and a social
atmosphere. All parts of the novel become increasingly disjointed and
menacing, especially when a cartel comes into the story.
The Heap is an entertaining novel with some interesting world
building and unique aspects in the society. While the writing could use
some assistance in a few areas, the idea behind the novel and the plot
help to overcome the parts that are lacking or a bit slow moving. The
addition of the weird and absurd, but menacing, cartel, and the rather
heedless, nonsensical and peculiar activities of the characters added a
quirky, intriguing aspect to the inventive plot.
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.