Adam Bender has successfully delivered a hilarious futuristic vision that mirrors our current political and social upheaval in his latest book, Utopia PR.
Blake Hamner (the “n” is silent), known as “The Hammer,” is a Crisis Communications Director for a maniacal president whose leadership is always putting the country on the brink of its next big meltdown and PR crisis. Blake is married to Maria who is part of the well-oiled machine of mainstream media (a top news anchor) opposing Blake’s position of covering up the president’s underhanded initiatives. The clashing of their opposing jobs plays out within their marriage throughout the book in great personal detail. Bender really draws readers in to the characters of both Blake and Maria, as you care about both of them and root for their marriage to survive the unconventional odds that exists between their careers.
Readers who are tired of politics infused in books and movies can rest assured that Bender doesn’t inject any partisan lines in his fiction. The president in this book is actually a democrat, a former TV ‘Pop Idol’ turned politician. But political denominations would not matter, as Bender paints politics, in general, as ridiculously over-the-top. He also paints the media and big corporation in satirically humorous ways.
Blake’s and Maria’s careers and marriage balance serve as a backdrop to the war between media and politicians. How each side is spinning reality, one for its own agenda and the other for ratings. The story unfolds through one of the biggest presidential scandals of the administration, which parallels Blake burning out in his current job.
There are several things that Blake does (in the name of distracting the media) during this book that I incredulously shook my head at (especially ones involving missiles and zoo animals), and about how over the top it all seemed. Then, sadly, I thought about it more and came to the following conclusion: You know, I bet this isn’t too far from reality.
There are some very clever futuristic elements throughout the book. I wouldn’t call it typical Sci-Fi, by any means, but it all seems grounded in our current news cycles. Like a swarm of bee-drones, mechanical military attack dogs, jet-pack-travelling tycoons, hover cars, and a ride sharing service operated by creepy robots. There’s also a mega-corporation called Woozle, which is part Twitter/Facebook/Amazon and other tech upstarts all wrapped into one, headquartered within an oversized phallic high-rise.
There is a lot to love in this book as I enjoyed it thoroughly. Utopia PR is extremely well-written with humor, wit and imagination, and it’s a lighthearted, uplifting vision into the dark times we’re facing. What I took from this book was one important thing I felt Bender implied throughout: no matter how messed up things get in the world, never take it too seriously. There is always time to take a step back from it all, have a little fun and enjoy your time…and, most importantly: focus on what’s most important.
Utopia PR by Adam Bender
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Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Adam Bender is an award-winning journalist and author of speculative fiction that explores modern-day societal fears with a mix of action, romance and humor.
DescriptionPublic-relations extraordinaire Blake Hamner (the “n” is silent) put off his honeymoon for his big break: joining a major political campaign for president. Now, the “Hammer” struggles to make time for his marriage as Crisis Communications Manager for Our Leader, who since taking power has become increasingly mad and totalitarian. The Hammer starts to reconsider his career choices when one of Our Leader’s savage steel hounds attacks the Comms team at a press conference. When a revolutionary levels grave allegations against Our Leader—and implicates Blake for the cover-up—the PR rep who thought he could talk his way out of any crisis finds himself utterly trapped in a dystopian job. Adam Bender is an award-winning journalist and author of speculative fiction that explores modern-day societal fears with a mix of action, romance and humor. He is the author of The Wanderer and the New West, Divided We Fall and We, The Watched.