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Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 03/2021
  • 9781649218780 1649218788
  • 308 pages
  • $18.99
Orange City

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Imagine a secret, hidden city that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the city forever. You can never leave. Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the "Man" who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones. After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality. A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, ORANGE CITY is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel LEMONWORLD.
Reviews
In this ambitious dystopian series debut, Goldberg (The Ancestor) explores life in the mysterious “City,” a second chance for outcasts, criminals, and the otherwise desperate. The Man, an elongated, many-limbed human being, overlooks the City’s inhabitants from a looming tower, holding them accountable and keeping them productive. Residents who slack off or disobey get banished to one of the many Empty Zones, left to rot among the starving and depraved. The story kicks off when City resident Graham Weatherend, a neurotic adman, agrees to sample a new soda product for his boss and experiences surprising mood swings. As he becomes increasingly dependent on the soda to live, he unravels a wide-reaching conspiracy, uncovering the City’s dark origins and his own place in the Man’s schemes.

Goldberg gives an original spin to well-worn science fiction concepts (surveillance, conformity, drug use, automation). The sodas Graham drinks are both hallucinatory and mood-altering, and the City more like a Panopticon — residents live in fear of being seen, even when they are possibly safe. However, because the novel tackles so many high-concept ideas, the narrative can feel disjointed. Seemingly important details (an early storyline involving lucid dreaming, for example) get explored briefly and then retired.

Graham is a character with a lot to lose (his banishment to the Zones would mean certain death), one readers will find it easy to root for. Goldberg’s skillful prose adapts to the changing moods of his protagonist. During a particularly lustful moment, Graham hears a woman’s voice “so throaty and alluring that he wanted to climb inside the cave of her mouth and spelunk,” a description that is the perfect balance of shameful and compelling. With its tragic protagonist and new take on illicit drugs, this daring first installment will appeal to fans of smart dystopian fiction.

Takeaway: This hair-rising science fiction novel is perfect for fans of layered conspiracies, altered reality, and eerie dystopias.

Great for fans of: Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts, Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Formats
Paperback Book Details
  • 03/2021
  • 9781649218780 1649218788
  • 308 pages
  • $18.99

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