In Meritropolis everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die. After a young boy is killed because of a low Score, his brother plots to take down the System.
Sounds good, right? Well, this exciting YA Dystopia is on sale for just 99 cents Thursday, November 27 through Monday, December 1. You can pick up your copy on Amazon.
To celebrate, we are offering a giveaway for an autographed copy and a $100 Amazon gift card—hooray!
Check out this interview with Joel Ohman, the author of the book critics are calling, “The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”, then scroll to the end of this post to learn more about the giveaway. Happy reading, and good luck!
Reader Interview with Joel Ohman
Who or what was your inspiration to write about post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi?
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?
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”.
Why the title Meritropolis?
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 2!
Now enter the giveaway
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MY REVIEW OF MERITROPOLIS
METROPOLIS by Joel Ohman
This book is a dystopian fantasy novel packed with action and drama.
The Event has devastated the world. At 3 years AE (After Event) there were 50,000 citizens of Meritropolis. A system was devised to help them to survive and all the reaidents had agreed to the new system. If the number of residents exceeded 50,000, then someone must be “zeroed”. This meant being put outside the gates to try to survive on their own. “Of course, being zeroed was just a euphemism for being killed, since no one could survive long outside the gates. Not at night, and not for long, anyway.” It was usually the elderly who had already lived a long life, or a sickly child who would likely not have a “productive future,” who were zeroed.
Everyone is assigned a numerical merit score which designates their worth to society. These scores also determine whether they live or die. The reason for this system was simple. The inhabitants of Meritropolis believed that the needs of the many outweighed the good of the few.
However, it is now AE12 and the current teenagers are rebelling against the system. When the original agreement had been reached, these current teenagers had been too young to understand the consequences.
Commander Orson now has the highest merit score of anyone in the city and because of this, he is in charge of Meritropolis. It had been his father who had initially instituted the System.
Charley’s parents had been killed in The Event and he was left with only his brother, Alec. Alec had down syndrome and when Charley was 8, Alec had been taken away by the guards and zeroed in a gate ceremony. It was that day that “had planted a dark little seed in Charley. And that seed had been tended carefully and quietly over the past nine years.” Charley has a high score of 118.
Children stay in the underground dorms until they reach adulthood.
Charley decides to try to stop a gate ceremony for a young girl and ends up living in the high score dorm.
It is there that he starts to discover the secrets that keep Meritropolis running.
It is now up to him and to his fellow high scores to decide if they will live a life of luxury and plenty at the expense of those with low scores, or if they will find a way to fight the system.
How do you decide? Is it better to protect yourself and your closest friends? Or is it better to put your life on the line in hopes of making life better for everyone?
Joel Ohman has managed to create a complex and diverse world that will appeal to all lovers of dystopian fiction.
This is an engrossing and gripping thrill ride that will keep you reading long into the night and will stay with you long after reading the final page.
The cliff hanger ending will leave you wishing that book two was already available. I know that I will be impatiently awaiting it’s publication.
I rate Meritropolis as 5 out of 5 stars.