Saturday, 20 October 2012
What Came After - Sam Winston
Title: What Came After
Author: Sam Winston
"What Came After" by Sam Winston is an enjoyable dystopian novel that explores a world that has been contaminated by genetically engineered crops. If people eat these crops then it can result in death or mutation. Therefore, a large proportion of society has died and Pharm-Agra, the very company who created the poisonous crops in the first place are the only ones that can de-engineer the crops so that they are safe to consume.
The story itself follows Henry Weller, a regular guy who embarks on an adventure across the United States in the hope of finding a way to heal his daughter's failing sight. This adventure enables both Weller and the reader to see more the world, the people living they and how they are interlinked.
Sam Winston has done a great job in painting a world where our technology and greed has resulted in a world that we can barely survive as a species. However, he also manages to show us that the human spirit still endures as people try their best to get through in any way they can and provide some sort of future for their children. One thing to note is that there is definitely an anti GM food feeling to the novel and I don't think large powerful capitalistic organisations are well loved either here. So if you politically lean strongly to the environmental left then you are probably going to nod your head in agreement as you witness the bleak future that appears in the book.
This utilisation of corporate control within the dystopian world as part of the plot reminded me a little bit of the Jack London classic "The Iron Heel" which I have previously reviewed here. The only real issue I had with the plot was that it seemed to be lacking any real suspense. As I read the book I never felt like there was a chance that Weller would actually die and fail to complete his task. It was still an enjoyable enough adventure story but the lack of suspense just ensured that I only really found it be just okay in terms of keeping me hooked and entertained.
Overall, it was an enjoyable and entertaining book that had me following Weller's journey across the wastelands with a form of curiosity as I wondered what type of person or society he was going to discover next. I think most fans of dystopian literature will find something here to enjoy as it has been well constructed and tells a story that is different from some of the more supernatural style dystopias we usually get subjected to these days.
Challenges Book Counts Towards:
Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
Speculative Fiction Challenge