Sunday 11 April 2021



Synopsis/blurb ....

Imagine a secret, hidden City that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the City forever. You can never leave.  

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the "Man" who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the Man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.   

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

A dynamic mash-up of 1984 meets LOST, Orange City is a lurid, dystopian first book in a series that will continue with the explosive sequel Lemonworld.                  

A little bit out of my comfort zone as I'm a rare reader of novels with dystopian/sci-fiction elements, but Orange City managed to entertain me while also convincing me that it's a genre I might enjoy dipping into a little bit more frequently in future.

A controlled society, power, constant surveillance, a strict hierarchy, the haves and the have nots.... hey hang on a minute, it's not so different from the world we live in now.

Graham Weatherend is the main focus of our attention. The powers have already ruined his life and not quite his mind, but enough for him to question his self-worth. He has a lot of guilt over the death of his parents. Here he gets to work for the MAN testing a new product, designed to further control the masses - a fizzy drink called POW! 

Addiction follows and with it the start of a one-man rebellion. Well maybe more than one. 

I'm always a little bit uncomfortable when reading about addicts, it can sometimes strike a bit too close to home. Craving and desire over-coming reason and logic. Poor choices exacerbated here, by the enablers - the man and his machine. I liked that Graham retained his humanity and his wanting to help Marlena, also a victim of the powers that be. Humanity trumping control, though not without a few bumps in the road, here and I'm guessing in the days ahead.

I liked the world the author created. Part of my fear of science-fiction is a dread of too much technical detail in the writing, akin to reading a foreign language book while possessing no bilingual skills. Goldberg didn't bamboozle me with science and jargon and incomprehensible faff, but instead concentrated on the people in the story and their trials, while still exciting me with the power of his imagination. 

I'm definitely interested in reading the second in this series - Lemonworld when it drops. 

4 from 5

Lee Matthew Goldberg has been enjoyed before - The Ancestor, The Desire Card and a shorter offering - De/tached 

Read - March, 2021
Published - 2021
Page count - 312
Source - review copy from author
Format - paperback


  1. You know, it's funny, Col. I don't really go for dystopian fiction as a rule. But there are some dystopian stories that really do evoke atmosphere and develop characters well, and this sounds like one of them. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. I'm probably the same Margot. I did enjoy this one. It's nice to push my reading boundaries now and again.