||Hollow Hills Publishing
||Apr 6 2001
Hollow Hills Publishing
Metapocalypse is a dark, surreal conspiracy satire about the past twenty years of UK politics. It includes strong SF themes such as mind control and alternate realities. It's also quite funny.
John Everyman is a criminally insane high-security mental patient. This makes him the perfect fodder for Pyramid, a shadowy cult of techno-masons behind government and big business. They use bizarre occult science to alter the perceptions of their agents, thus making them co-operative on their missions of sabotage, black propaganda and assassination.
It all goes wrong though, and Everyman is off on a twenty year journey through altered, yet strangely familiar socio-polital landscapes.
On the journey through the corridors they passed by strange hooded figures. They wore ordinary suits and dresses, but had bag like white hoods over their heads, which had rough eyeholes cut into them and were secured with silky rope. They travelled in pairs, or groups, or singly, but all seemed to be producing this dry, insectile, clicking and rattling which was accompanied by an unearthly, high pitched whine. E. tripped after Miss Tompter, constantly looking back over his shoulder as these thoroughly bizarre things passed by him.
‘Don’t stare at the ministers!’ hissed Tompter, and smiled up at one of the figures, which nodded to her.
‘Sorry,’ said E. and bit his lip.
Paul Lappen, Dead Trees Review, reviews Metapocalypse
John Everyman is a common person who is in the middle in a struggle for world domination between two shadowy organizations, appropriately called Leviathan and Pyramid, who secretly control government and big business. Things are going wrong in his deprogramming, so his brain compensates by putting John into scenarios, like its the most normal thing in the world, consisting of totally disparate elements put together.
At one point, John is a business owner in late 18th century Brittania. One day, he is shanghaied by the military and put on ship to go to war against Patagonia (Argentina). On his return, he finds that the only employment open to him is to join a half-private, half-government security service. They are sent to the north of the country, equipped with 21st century truncheons and shields, to break up (violently, if necessary) a strike by a group of coal miners. Later, the service is used stifle opposition to a recently enacted Poll Tax on all citizens.
At another point, John is a big business executive in a Brittania where the Roman Empire never went away. Even though it is the eve of the 21st century, everyone wears togas, travel is by anti-gravity chariots, and the country is run by an Emperor. The company, called Hegemony, actually is the government, and begins implementation of a mandatory scheme where all citizens give a sample of their DNA. The intention is to start a private file on everyone in Brittania.
Fans of dystopian science fiction, like 1984 or The Prisoner, will love this book; conspiracy fans will love it, too. The author certainly doesn’t hold back in his satirizing of present-day Britain. This book will take some effort on the part of the reader, but, on more than one level, it is very good and very highly recommended.
Lisa DuMond, SfSite, reviews Metapocalypse
His name may be John Everyman, but we'd best hope he doesn't represent all of us. His life, or what he thinks is his life... or his lives, is nothing the rest of us want any part of. Life for Mr. Everyman is a surrealistic illustration of hell. Try to think of a worse existence than being the mind-altered puppet of the government, corporations, secret societies, and whoever else feels like putting their hand in. Then again, maybe none of this is happening and John is just imagining the entire thing. Or maybe that's just what they want him to think.
If it sounds as if the reader will spend much of the time lost in this novel, take heart; John E is every bit as confused, if not more. From one second to the next, our anti-hero can't tell his ass from a shiny new corporate tea kettle. Come to think of it, as long as a shiny enough kettle shows up in each new place he awakens, Everyman doesn't much care. His main concern, in this world, is the prosperity and continued existence of number one. Although, no matter which situation he finds himself in, he comes up smelling like number two.
As an average man, John falls pretty far short of even the average standard. He is bigoted, misogynistic, intolerant, petty, and a bully, and -- like all bullies -- a coward. Why would anyone or any organisation choose this worthless slob to be the instrument of their retaliation? The weapon to bring about this metapocalypse? To brainwash and recreate an individual time and again the perfect subject for that experiment would have to be a shapeless, formless sort of creature. Almost an amoeba. Such a thing as a spine would definitely be nothing more than a hindrance.
Brendan's future England is a place that should send a shiver down anyone's spine. (Anyone who has one.) What little remains of the sham democracy in power is being pushed aside by a nebulous, supreme corporation which is in danger of being wiped out by an even more mysterious association with mystical underpinnings. What each group really wants is up to interpretation and speculation.
In the end, it's almost impossible to figure out who is on what side. Come to think of it, that may not even matter. While there are villains aplenty, there's nary a good guy in sight. Characters change their stories and their allegiances with the flip of a page. The scenes change with no explanation or warning. Motivations? Well, those are never clear.
So what really is going on in Metapocalypse? Maybe it comes down to what you think happened. John Everyman could just possibly be the victim of the ultimate mindfuck. Or he could be creating his own nightmarish existence. Whatever the answer, the reader is in for a wild ride... in this case though, you may be better off not being buckled in; safety may be the exact wrong thing to shoot for in Brendan's psychotic world.
Copyright © 2001 Lisa DuMond
Cindy Penn, Wordweaving.com
Highly Recommended for conspiracy fans and fans of dystopian science fiction
Metapocalypse is a science fiction morality play that is written as allegory. It abounds in multiple meanings that must be understood on more than level. Further, it includes themes of psychomachia--the battle within the individual's mind or soul, often represented allegorically in literature as a conflict between virtues and vices for the possession of the soul. Even the name John Everyman is a personified abstraction. The result is stunning, richly created science fiction.
Set in the present, the Leviathan controls government and the Pyramid controls big business. John Everyman finds himself caught between the two when something goes wrong with his deprogramming. His mind tries to compensate for the damage by joining entirely disparate scenarios and possibilities.
Everyman moves fluidly through history. At one point he's a business owner in late 18th century Brittania when he's shanghaied by the military, he goes to war against Patagonia (Argentina). He later awakens in a modern day hospital where he's stunned to learn his doctor is a black woman. He believes its still 1790 and he's in Albion.
Everyman finds himself entranced by the television until he realizes that it's merely used for propaganda. 27 electroshock treatments and mind control make his accept his role in a perfectly engineered society. A microprocessor is implanted into his spine to make him a tool against anarchy and disorder.
At another point, Everyman joins a big business as an executive in a Brittania where the Roman Empire never fell. Though it's the start of the 21st century, citizens wears togas, travel is by anti-gravity chariots, give allegiance to an Emperor. A company called Hegemony fronts for government intent upon mandatory DNA donations by citizens for their own purposes.
Metapocalypse is a roller coaster ride, filled with twists and convolutions that will leave the reader reeling. Unexpected junctures and juxtapositions, altered reality and surrealism result in a blend of satire and irony that keeps the pages turning. Without a linear storyline, readers are never certain where they are in the landscape, a fact shared by Everyman. Indeed, the reader shares the hero's disassociations and delusions, nebulous reality and manipulations. Despite the uneven pace, tone and humor of the narrative, readers will discover that beneath the shadows and confusion lies dark political satire masked as science fiction that will hold one's attention riveted. Highly recommended for conspiracy fans and fans of dystopian science fiction fans.
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