Reviewed by Justine Norton-Kertson
Robert Evans’ “After the Revolution” explores a future world in which the U.S. has fallen to civil war, and extremist rightwing forces have control of most of the former U.S. south. The world Evans builds is one in which an apocalypse of sorts has taken place. For people in the U.S. at least, their whole world has been flipped upside down and they’re trying to rebuild. Different regional states and confederations having formed out of the ashes.
It’s fifty years into the future, the 2070s, and the Republic of Texas is a loose, libertarian state variously controlled by rightwing or leftwing forces, depending on the particular region. It’s neighbor to the east, the Heavenly Kingdom, is a theocratic union of extremist rightwing Christian states that are compared to a white, U.S. version of Isis.
This multi-perspective story follows three main characters. Manny Sanchez is the story’s protagonist. He’s a young fixer who makes a living transporting foreign journalists to the front lines of the war between Texas and the Heavenly Kingdom.
Roland was a super-soldier in the U.S. military. As a result of the traumatic experiences he endured, he has no desire to get involved in another war. He’s tempted by an offer he can’t refuse, however, and ends up joining Manny on a rescue mission that will take them deep into Heavenly Kingdom territory.
Sasha is a teenage runaway who escaped the Kingdom and a forced marriage. She seeks to join the war against the imperialist and tyrannical theocracy. When she meets Manny and Roland, she joins them on their dangerous rescue mission.
Roberts debut novel kept me glued to the pages—a smart, well-crafted, and action-packed military science fiction story that deals with the horrors of war through a trauma-informed lens. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and spending time thinking about all the implications of the world Evan’s created.
The book releases in spring 2022, and if you preorder a print copy directly from AK Press, then it comes with an autographed bookplate. I highly recommend picking up a copy and finding out what happens “After the Revolution.”
Justine Norton-Kertson (they/he/she) is the co-editor-in-chief of Solarpunk Magazine and Android Press. They live in rural Oregon with his partner, puppies, cats, goats, and beehives. She can be found on Twitter @jankwrites.