Meritropolis by Joel Ohman
It is three years after the Event, the year now known as AE3. Meritropolis is a walled city of over 50,000 inhabitants. Each inhabitant has a score on their arm, a test result they are given yearly based on their intelligence and ability to physically contribute. Low scores are ushered outside the gates of Meritropolis where they are left to die with the elements and the odd creatures that now own the wilderness.
Charley, at a young age watched helplessly as his brother was sent outside the gates. Parent-less, Charlie was at a loss to do anything but watch, but now that Charley is 17, and holding one of the highest scores of Metropolis, he s a force to be reckoned with and has never forgot what happened to his brother.
As Charley gains knowledge and strength to take on the system he would be naive to believe that he is not being watched… and groomed…
Meritropolis was an interesting read. A dystopian world setting (which I love) with a mix of Maze Runner and a small taste of Harry Potter too. There is a character in the book who reminds me of a stronger but still nice, Hagrid.
I enjoyed the protagonist Charley and his desire to change his present world for the better. The supporting characters are a good mix of the possible love interest, tough but pretty girl, the jealous boy, as well as the weaker but lovable best friend. And that is just the group Charlie hangs out with…
Meritropolis is fast paced and engaging. I found myself wanting to know more about Charlie’s brother and of course if there is any surviving beyond the gates. This book brings you to a cliff hanger end leaving you wanting to know…
what will happen next?
I would recommend this read to Middle Grade – young YA Dystopian Readers, it is not as violent as Hunger Games
- Paperback: 226 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (September 9, 2014)
Currently this books is 99 cents on the Kindle sale at Amazon
Interview with Joel Ohman
Who or what was your inspiration to write about post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi?
J.O.: I’ve read a lot in this genre, so I would say it’s a mix of a lot of different things. I really just wanted to explore this question of, “What gives a person worth?” Is it their usefulness to society? Is it because someone loves them? Is it because of how they look? Is it because of their health or ability? As a Christian, I believe that all people have worth, because they are made in the image of God. I wanted to explore some different takes on this question. I think that the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci-fi genre was the best vehicle to tackle some of those deep philosophical questions in a fun and interesting way.
Why do you write? Is it for fun, or because you have something you need to say in your writing?
J.O.: Some writers are loath to say their writing has a message, because maybe they think doing so diminishes their art (not true, in my opinion), but I think that everyone has a message in their writing, even if they aren’t as consciously focused on it—and that’s a good thing. My message is in my epigraph: “Because everyone matters – Psalm 139”.
I wanted a short one word title that was a clever—or at least semi-clever—play on two different words. I like “Meritropolis” because it combines “Merit” and “Metropolis,” two words that are great for describing a city where each resident’s worth is measured by a score given to them.
In Meritropolis how were the animal combinations decided upon? For example, I know you chose to write about a bion (bull-lion), as well as many other freaks of nature. So what I want to know is how did you decided which animals to meld together and why.
I have a big list of animal combinations that I came up with before I began writing the book, and I tried to work in as many as I could. Sometimes the only criteria was that I liked the way the name sounded. Look for many more in the following books!
Can you tells us about your characters and who/what inspired them?
I am a big believer in John Truby’s approach to building a “character web”, because this deepens the relationships between characters and helps to make each of the characters more complex. Absent building a good character web, it can be all too easy to fall into the not-very-true-to-real-life good-person/bad-person false dichotomy where your protagonist devolves into this I-can-do-no-wrong character and your antagonist is just pure evil. I was very much aiming to show the imperfections and brokenness in each of the characters. My thinking as a Christian influences this to some degree, given that the Bible teaches that we are all essentially the same; we are all sinners—only God is perfect.
Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read?
I read pretty much everything! Fiction, non-fiction, you name it! I am of the opinion that, as an author, I can learn something from almost every kind of writing. Sometimes, it most definitely is a matter of learning what not to do—but, on the whole, I love to read a wide variety of writing styles, genres, etc.
Are there any books that have inspired your own writing?
I read A LOT so there are many different things that have shaped my writing over the years, but I wouldn’t say there was any particular book, or books, that I was consciously looking to for inspiration while writing Meritropolis. Looking back though I can definitely see different threads of influence in almost everything I have read over the years that contribute toward making Meritropolis what it is: the strong protagonist of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, the philosophical bent of C.S. Lewis’ fiction, the dystopian setting of Hugh Howey’s WOOL series, and many more.
Are there any authors that have emerged in the last three years that have caught your interest?
Hugh Howey is an author that I really like that has caught my attention lately. I would highly recommend his WOOL series!
Meritropolis is marked down from its regular price of $5.99, but only for a limited time. Feed your Kindle by picking up a discounted copy for just 99 cents, but make sure you do it before December 1st!