The Biomass Revolution is a dystopic novel set, around fifty years from now, somewhere near Chicago. Following a nuclear war that destroyed the rest of the world, leaders formed Tisaia, a state under martial law – largely due to scarce resources.
The novel primarily follows Spurious Timur, a government worker, as he discovers the truth about his past and the propaganda the citizens of Tisaia are fed. The secondary strand running through the book follows Obi, the lead scout in Squad 19 of the TDU (Tisaian Democratic Union) – a rebel group. As he battles with internal TDU politics (and personalities) and challenges stemming from scarce resources, he leads his Squad in a series of attacks against the state and their military – the dreaded CRK. As Mr Smith writes with an omniscient view, we get further insights from members of the rebellion, state workers, CRK soldiers and the state itself.
I did find the omniscient view difficult to handle at times; it’s not one of my favourite ways of telling a story. In particular, I struggled with the introduction of points of view (POVs) that were one-time-only, as these new branches never grew to fill the tree, leaving me unfulfilled. Also difficult was when the narrative switched from one character to another without a pause between, causing me to play catch-up regarding who was telling the story now. However, all that said, The Biomass Revolution is a complete story. About the central story – with the exception of ‘what Biomass really is’ – it is a coherent whole and we are told no more or less than is necessary.
To say that I enjoyed this book would be to use the wrong word, as it isn’t an easy read in terms of subject matter, but it is an excellent novel that asks questions and finds a few answers along the way. I definitely recommend this to people looking for a good dystopic novel.