Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Heap

The Heap by Sean Adams
HarperCollins: 1/7/20
eBook review copy; 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062957733

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.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.

No comments: