Cover of "Theocracide" by James Wymore.

Cover of “Theocracide” by James Wymore.

Theocracide is a novel of a possible future by James Wymore. It has slight young adult leanings, though I’m not sure if that’s its actual target audience.

At an unspecified time in the future, the United States is ruled by a benevolent dictator known as the Undying Emperor. He has been leading the States for nearly 250 years, and most people adore the emperor, but times are troubled. Aliens are taking over the Earth, and the Undying Emperor spends most of his time assuring everyone that all is well and that a victory will be had at any time over the horrible aliens.

The protagonist, Jason, is raised half the time by his anti-government father Jay, and the other half of the time by his internet- and game-addicted mother. Most people spend all their time online in virtual fantasy worlds of their own making and rarely (if ever) interact with others. The latest computer glasses make it all the easier to be absorbed in the fantasy worlds online, as they even make the real world appear to be anything you wish. Jason is a rarity because he spends about an equal amount of time offline.

The story kept me interested all the way through the book, and I was interested in how everything would tie up at the end. Wymore had a few twists and turns in the plot that weren’t always immediately obvious, and I enjoyed the interactions between the main character and his girlfriend, Diane. Seeing both of them grow (especially Di) as the story progressed was satisfying.

I had trouble with the pacing of the book, as well as how chapters tended to end on a “cliffhanger” and therefore felt somewhat contrived. The descriptions often felt stilted instead of flowing, giving an awkwardness to the text which interfered with the the smoothness of the narrative.

There seemed to be a bit of drum beating on the part of the author regarding the evils of the online world (which I found slightly amusing given that the copy of the book I reviewed was an ebook). While this figures into the plot later in the story, the frequency with which it was mentioned became almost tiresome. I realize this may just be a personal preference, but it interfered with my ability to become involved in the story.

Despite these issues, I enjoyed the story because it had so much going for it. Unfortunately, the book felt unpolished in many places, like it needed another revision. This may not be noticeable to some people due to the interesting nature of the overall plot, but it impacted my ability to enjoy the story to a degree (though not so much that I feel uncomfortable recommending the book). Theocracide was not spectacular, but I really I don’t regret the time I spent in its world.

Release Date: December 29, 2012 (USA)
ISBNs: 1620071479 (9781620071472)
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Review copy kindly provided by the author.

MySF Rating: Three point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 90%

Content:

Alcohol/Drugs: 0
Language: 0
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 1 (a small amount of police/military violence, some fighting, talk of killing)