The Heap
“As intellectually playful as the best of Thomas Pynchon and as sardonically warm as the best of Kurt Vonnegut, The Heap is both a hilarious send-up of life under late capitalism and a moving exploration of the peculiar loneliness of the early 21st century. A masterful and humane gem of a novel.”— Shaun Hamill, author of A Cosmology of MonstersBlending the dark humor of Patrick deWitt and the jagged social and techno-satire of Black Mirror, an audacious, eerily prescient debut novel that chronicles the rise and fall of a massive high-rise housing complex, and the lives it affected before—and after—its demise.Standing nearly five hundred stories tall, Los Verticalés once bustled with life and excitement. Now this marvel of modern architecture and nontraditional urban planning has collapsed into a pile of rubble known as the Heap. In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, and a small living stipend, a vast community of Dig Hands removes debris, trash, and bodies from the building’s mountainous remains, which span twenty acres of unincorporated desert land.Orville Anders burrows into the bowels of the Heap to find his brother Bernard, the beloved radio DJ of Los Verticalés, who is alive and miraculously broadcasting somewhere under the massive rubble. For months, Orville has lived in a sea of campers that surrounds the Heap, working tirelessly to free Bernard—the only known survivor of the imploded city—whom he speaks to every evening, calling into his radio show.The brothers’ conversations are a ratings bonanza, and the station’s parent company, Sundial Media, wants to boost its profits by having Orville slyly drop brand names into his nightly talks with Bernard. When Orville refuses, his access to Bernard is suddenly cut off, but strangely, he continues to hear his own voice over the airwaves, casually shilling products as “he” converses with Bernard.What follows is an imaginative and darkly hilarious story of conspiracy, revenge, and the strange life and death of Los Verticalés that both captures the wonderful weirdness of community and the bonds that tie us together.

The Heap Details

TitleThe Heap
Author
ReleaseJan 7th, 2020
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780062957733
Rating
GenreFiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

The Heap Review

  • Terry
    January 1, 1970
    Personally, I loved this book. Loved it enough that I read it twice, the second time intentionally slow, because I wanted to give it a decent yet fair review.This is a novel, that won't be for everyone across the board, and I believe most readers will either love it or hate it. Sean Adams has used satire (might I add successfully) as the basis for telling this creative character driven storyline. Satire, like sarcasm is not for everyone. I love it, however you may hate it. It doesn't make either Personally, I loved this book. Loved it enough that I read it twice, the second time intentionally slow, because I wanted to give it a decent yet fair review.This is a novel, that won't be for everyone across the board, and I believe most readers will either love it or hate it. Sean Adams has used satire (might I add successfully) as the basis for telling this creative character driven storyline. Satire, like sarcasm is not for everyone. I love it, however you may hate it. It doesn't make either of us wrong, it's simply a matter of taste. However if you do enjoy satire I highly recommend this novel. It's expertly done by Sean Adams and I can't wait to see what he publishes next.
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  • Amber J
    January 1, 1970
    I was given a free ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler free way. If you feel anything in my review is a spoiler and is not already hidden in spoiler brackets please let me know. Thank you.Did not finish at 43%. I really tried to get into this one. Really. And maybe it got better, but after almost half of the book, I no longer had any interest in finding out. Honestly the book was just boring. Nothing was really happening. The I was given a free ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. I try to express only my most honest opinion in a spoiler free way. If you feel anything in my review is a spoiler and is not already hidden in spoiler brackets please let me know. Thank you.Did not finish at 43%. I really tried to get into this one. Really. And maybe it got better, but after almost half of the book, I no longer had any interest in finding out. Honestly the book was just boring. Nothing was really happening. The chapters that flash into the past were kinda interesting, but honestly that was it. How I choose my rating:1* Did not finish, or hated it but forced myself to finish.2** Didn't really like it. Didn't hate it but not sure why I finished it other then for some closure.3*** I liked it. I had some issues with it, but as a whole it was good. I probably won't reread again ever, but there is a chance I might finish the series. (If part of one) But if not it's not a huge loss.4**** I really liked this book. Maybe not a work of genius, but highly entertaining. I might reread this again, and I will finish the series. (If part of one) I would recommend to those I know hold interest in this books content.5***** I loved this book. I found little to no issues with it at all. I will definitely be rereading this and probably more than once. I will finish the series and reread it multiple times. (If part of one) I will recommend this book to EVERYONE!!!!
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .3.5* So, this book went in a very different direction that I assumed it would. To be fair, I don't necessarily always have any decent grasp on where I think things are headed, so we won't hold that againstThe Heap.But I feel like it's worth mentioning, anyway. I guess I assumed, based on the technical prowess of Los Verticalés, that we were going to be in some kind of future setting You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .3.5* So, this book went in a very different direction that I assumed it would. To be fair, I don't necessarily always have any decent grasp on where I think things are headed, so we won't hold that against The Heap. But I feel like it's worth mentioning, anyway. I guess I assumed, based on the technical prowess of Los Verticalés, that we were going to be in some kind of future setting (and we can blame Goodreads for labeling it as both "science fiction" and "dystopian"). And I don't actually know if it isn't, which we'll get to. But anyway, let us chat about all the things!What I Liked:  • The history of Los Verticalés was kind of awesome. There were chapters, written by those who had survived Los Verticalés (by not being home at the time basically), about the history of the building. Not just the physical details, but of how the people of the building pretty much formed their own society over time. It was endlessly fascinating, and I couldn't get enough! • The characters went through a lot of quiet development. There was a lot of introspection in the book, which is why I say "inward". They each were very... reserved about sharing emotions with anyone else, so the evolution they went through was a slower one of solitary exposition. Still, that made it feel incredibly honest, and authentic to the characters the author had developed. They would not have been the type to have evolved any other way. • There's some mystery elements at play, and some very left-field stuff that I did not see coming! I'll keep it vague, but I will say that I definitely didn't see where things were headed, like I said. It takes an incredibly different turn from "looking for survivors in rubble of bananas building" to... well, that's a thing you'll have to find out for yourself! What I Didn't: • When is this happening!? Honestly guys your guess is as good as mine. There's a ton of talk about a radio (as the main character's brother is a radio host), and phone lines. But no one seems to have cell phones or the internet. So... could be dystopia! But could also be alternate universe altogether, really. Also, what's shakin' with the rest of the world? No idea either! That is really my biggest gripe here: Worldbuilding was non-existent outside of Los Verticalés. And that could have been the point, which is fine, except the characters do go beyond the rubble. So it became more confusing for me to not understand the outside world at all. Bottom Line: It's definitely a unique book with plot points I never expected. It moves at a slower pace and is definitely character driven, so expect less on Los Verticalés itself, and more on the rescuers and such.
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  • FanFiAddict
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 8.0/10Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Heap in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.The Heap is a character-driven, immensely satirical, and wholly original debut that had me thumbing through pages quicker than ConductionSens shovels can alert you to live electrical currents. Adams uses a mix of present-day storytelling and pre-collapse glimpses of life in the Vert to provide a Rating: 8.0/10Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Heap in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.The Heap is a character-driven, immensely satirical, and wholly original debut that had me thumbing through pages quicker than ConductionSens shovels can alert you to live electrical currents. Adams uses a mix of present-day storytelling and pre-collapse glimpses of life in the Vert to provide a consistently entertaining romp through the life and times of Orville Anders. While most characters are given the chance to shine, Orville takes the cake when it comes to fully investing your time and attention to a protagonist and coming alongside him on his journey to find his brother.The main characteristic of this novel that caught my attention and kept me engaged was the complete and utter ignorance of the characters. I don’t mean that in the sense that they didn’t know what was going on; more so that the things they were doing seem so foreign and outrageous to the reader. Completely normal to them in their day-to-day, but head-scratchily moronic to us. For instance, one of the opening chapters mentions the characters finding a “dead”, setting it to the side, lounging down on a leather courch, and partaking of the cold brews in the fridge. Like, what???The humor set forth in The Heap brought me back to the early days of reading Josiah Bancroft’s The Books of Babel, especially Senlin Ascends. Yes, I get that the book only came out seven (7) years ago, but hey, I have only been reading religiously for about five (5). Maybe I should have Sean and Josiah sit down for a coffee and see who can come up with the most ridiculous scenario for a character. The sad part is, even though these characters are made up in works of fiction, we could probably point to someone in our life or an individual we have crossed paths with that would behave in such ways.Thanks to the publisher, I had the pleasure of hosting Sean on my podcast back in December of 2019. In my opinion, being able to sit down and talk with him about writing, inspirations, etc. allowed me to engage with this novel more than had I gone into it completely blind. It also doesn’t hurt that I have read satire before, especially the likes of Tom Holt, Christopher Moore, and Douglas Adams. The list goes on, but you get the point. Dry humor isn’t for everyone, especially with a little tongue in cheek thrown in, but I eat it up.I had a ton of fun with this novel, and it was a pretty quick read, what with short chapters and a page count around 320. If you enjoy wry humor, but character-driven stories, give The Heap a try.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this one. It is a unique slow mover, with plenty of time for twists and digging into the characters.
  • Eric Ballein
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful first novel that is biting in it's satire and humanity. I read a blurb that compared Adam's writing to Pynchon's, which I initially scoffed at, but this novel is reminiscent of The Crying of Lot 49 while still retaining it's own unique voice. I'll definitely be purchasing any future work by Sean Adams.
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  • Chris S.
    January 1, 1970
    This was overall a decent book, but it had so much potential that went unrealized. The scenario was neat, but the first act was long and Orville, one of the main characters, just seemed kind of bland. And I'm not against bland characters, but they have to have something interesting about them, even in their blandness, that makes them an interesting person to share a literary journey with.That being said, the weirdness was delectable. A mega-skyscraper where people live as in a city? That's got This was overall a decent book, but it had so much potential that went unrealized. The scenario was neat, but the first act was long and Orville, one of the main characters, just seemed kind of bland. And I'm not against bland characters, but they have to have something interesting about them, even in their blandness, that makes them an interesting person to share a literary journey with.That being said, the weirdness was delectable. A mega-skyscraper where people live as in a city? That's got some neat potential. Yet, unlike other books I've read such as The Name of This Book is Secret and The Man in the High Castle, the whole thing felt weirdly disjointed and forced.The last third is pretty suspenseful and provides an ending that is, in general, strong, but that just wasn't enough to make it four stars for me. I felt a lot of things that could have been explored more just weren't.
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  • Brittany S
    January 1, 1970
    NOTE: I won this arc as part of a goodreads giveaway. It in no means influences my review.The premise of this book, which pulled me in, was also what left me a bit disappointed. The characters' development throughout left me wanting a bit more. Orville had the most development, with the other characters, especially the secondary characters like Terrence and the boss, coming off as mere filler. My favorite parts of the book were the random chapters marked from the earlier years that gave you a NOTE: I won this arc as part of a goodreads giveaway. It in no means influences my review.The premise of this book, which pulled me in, was also what left me a bit disappointed. The characters' development throughout left me wanting a bit more. Orville had the most development, with the other characters, especially the secondary characters like Terrence and the boss, coming off as mere filler. My favorite parts of the book were the random chapters marked from the earlier years that gave you a glimpse into the way the community functioned before it crumbled. I felt the stories of lynda bored me a bit, though I know she was an integral piece to the story. I also was shocked about the ending with the Cartel as it seemed a bit of a stretch, but the very ending with Orville? Well that part tugged the heart strings a bit when you find out the truth. The premise though was definitely something different than what I've seen. I wish the execution had been a bit different.
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  • Boris Feldman
    January 1, 1970
    A heap of words.
  • TL
    January 1, 1970
    I won this via goodreads giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own. --Another one that isn't my cup of tea unfortunately:(
  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    This book is interesting in its creativity, but lacking in the emotions and information which would have brought it to life. The story starts after a gigantic city-skyscraper has collapsed and people are digging through the rubble to find valuables and people, living or dead. Interspersed with the present storyline are short snippets of life inside the skyscraper prior to its collapse which i would have loved to read more about.The story contains several facets: brothers searching for each This book is interesting in its creativity, but lacking in the emotions and information which would have brought it to life. The story starts after a gigantic city-skyscraper has collapsed and people are digging through the rubble to find valuables and people, living or dead. Interspersed with the present storyline are short snippets of life inside the skyscraper prior to its collapse which i would have loved to read more about.The story contains several facets: brothers searching for each other, a fabulous mafia which i can’t say much about without giving too much away, corporations whose motives are suspect, and ineffectual bureaucracy. The problem is that the brothers aren’t fleshed out well enough so that we care about their relationship to each other. The same goes for the corporation. I finished the book wondering what the real point of the story was. The main mystery (described in jacket copy) is solved, but i think the author was laying the groundwork for a little more about how the building came to be or collapsed that just never really coalesced.This is a creative story which takes the reader out of present day America and into a very possible future, but the story is not deep and may leave the reader feeling somewhat dissatisfied at all the cards left on the table.This is another book where i struggle to identify the intended audience. At first blush, it would seem like it’s intended for young adult audiences and up. But the author did this thing that really confuses me in books: it’s like he felt there needed to be some swearing in it so he sprinkled curse words throughout, generally in ways that make little to no sense and only serve to make the reader uncomfortable in their awkwardness. The best example of this is probably the chapter that starts with a character saying that they are “fuck near” something. If that’s a phrase, I’ve never heard it, so i had no clue whether the people were actually nearby or far away. Therefore, any value this would have to young readers is negated for language reasons.
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  • Doug
    January 1, 1970
    It is fitting that a book essentially about questions of identity vs community, (self-imposed) isolation, social hierarchies, the basic emptiness of modern endeavors, and actualizing thought experiments would itself embody elements of self-smug satire, confusing approaches to the human element, a blend of writing tricks that almost but do not quite work together, and ultimately even a sort of confusion about its own goals. Is this a scathing review of society? A love letter to the modern life? A It is fitting that a book essentially about questions of identity vs community, (self-imposed) isolation, social hierarchies, the basic emptiness of modern endeavors, and actualizing thought experiments would itself embody elements of self-smug satire, confusing approaches to the human element, a blend of writing tricks that almost but do not quite work together, and ultimately even a sort of confusion about its own goals. Is this a scathing review of society? A love letter to the modern life? A book ultimately about the process of writing books (for it seems, most modern literature is literature about literature)? A modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz? All of the above? I see this as praise and damnation, which is itself a type of praise. Has Sean Adams woven a book of often quite-shallow satire about modern life in such a way that it is really a deeper satire of shallow satires about modern life? A book that wears most of its tricks so boldly on its sleeve that you are never sure if you witnessing foreshadowing or some meta-fictional lampshade-hanging about the obviousness of modern workshop literature? Is the strange timelessness of the novel which could be "anytime" but eventually feels like a throwback middle or late-middle 20th century a reference to a time period that white-male writers writing about white-male [often writing] endeavors was ascendant?* I do not know. The Heap at least, is mostly entertaining and has flights of fancy that make it quite memorable. Seriously. I enjoyed it. I also enjoy, as one does, taking a bit of the piss out of it. The quick precis is that there was a large arcology type building that combines a high-rise living condominium with with shopping and workspace (though much conversation is given to the relative merits/impact of living in the outer [i.e. window-having] units and the inner [i.e. non-window-having] units, and some reference is made to things like parks and businesses and elevator traffic and the use of condo-space for things like teaching/etc, the exact aesthetic and flow is somewhat left to the imagination). It one day collapsed and now there is a large heap of rubble/trash out in the desert and a crew dedicated to cleaning up and sorting through the mess. This is motivated, in part, by a radio broadcast coming from the eponymous Heap, by a survivor trapped down in the dark. Said survivor's brother is now working the Dig Site trying to sort through the collapse to save his brother (and find himself, naturally). There are also elements of an ad hoc community around the dig site and the somewhat futile politics and societal elements that govern it. And there is a ongoing interspersed narrative about the life in the arcology before it collapsed with hints at the odd experiments and experiences. And there are other things...which I won't bring up, despite being some of the more kooky aspects of the book...since it borders on spoilers and outing the whole premise. The tagline at the top of its Goodreads description and central blurb of the back jacket's blurb stack cites Pynchon and Vonnegut** being in this book's literary DNA (more or less). This is...somewhat false. One of the aforementioned other things (the big "other thing" as it were) is definitely resonant of a Thomas Pynchon plot point. And I can see where one might see Vonnegut (one of the characters is physically much like Vonnegut, though maybe accidentally). However, it is not quite that flow. That is ok. Some aspects are things that are more interesting for it. By the end, there were several times where the smug satire made me sigh quite hard (a chapter discussing the election cycle in the arcology, where the "common people" did not want a proper election but just wanted a literal song-and-dance show, just fell flatly like an echo of a tired "wake up sheeple" discourse). Then there were times where the satire made me chuckle (rarely, if ever, out loud). Likewise, sometimes the plot felt plodding and padded, and other times I was wanting more. In fact, though I am glad to see a conclusion, I still feel like I could stand to read more, considerably more. This paradox of "too much" and "just right" drives this book forward. It was a good trip somewhat hindered by its own "type" of literature by both breaking new ground and, paradoxically, considering the themes of the book, being maybe too grounded in the past. By doing so, it becomes a question of itself, and I suppose that is fun. At any rate, I look forward to what Sean Adams writes next. He at least has my attention. ====* Doug snarkiness aside, and excluding the possibility that this is some strange internet-less, cellphone-less universe simply to set up some of the more contrived plot points (which is a real and quite likely possibility), there is I suppose a real-world consideration that setting a book about the impact of collapsing buildings and rebuilding-from-rubble any time post-2001 would require references to the September 11 attacks [as well as the concept of more modern definitions of fame, which rarely involve "radio personalities"]. ** I was entirely unsurprised to find that the person who made this claim is another graduate from the same MFA workshop.
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    #7/52 2020 books. Really more like 2.5 stars. The book had excellent symbolic potential, serving as a metaphor for American capitalism and the numerous faults that seem destined to lead to its collapse. The problem was, the story and the characters all felt dull and flat; the novel read like a short story that had been awkwardly expanded into something longer, with unnecessary, undeveloped characters and pointless inclusion of even the most mundane things added simply to pad the page count and #7/52 2020 books. Really more like 2.5 stars. The book had excellent symbolic potential, serving as a metaphor for American capitalism and the numerous faults that seem destined to lead to its collapse. The problem was, the story and the characters all felt dull and flat; the novel read like a short story that had been awkwardly expanded into something longer, with unnecessary, undeveloped characters and pointless inclusion of even the most mundane things added simply to pad the page count and make a book of it (so-and-so walked here, then turned a doorknob, then walked there, then said hello to a character who is making his only appearance just sitting on a barstool, etc.). That's not to say all of the included details were pointless. The author clearly went to great lengths to make many things highly symbolic/metaphorical, whether it was Thisbee's puppet-master control of leadership positions, the manipulation of time zones and holiday celebrations, the bureaucratic speech style of the man shutting down the telephone bank, distraction of the masses with sexual temptations, the class warfare between the inner and outer unit dwellers, or the residents' refusal to believe emergency protocols were warranted because they couldn't believe that their way of life could possibly collapse. And I am a huge fan of symbolism, a lover of great classics that most others groan at the mere thought of reading. Quite frankly, there was at least one symbolic metaphor in each chapter that struck me as rather brilliant...but the problem was, I was so disinterested in the story that I didn't have the patience to really analyze the symbolism in greater depth or to piece it all together into a cohesive thesis. Instead, I just kept thinking, "is this over yet?"But perhaps it's this very reaction that serves as the ultimate metaphor. Do I think the author actually intentionally set out to bore me so thoroughly in order to demonstrate how citizens of capitalist America have been so worn down by our disastrous system that we can't bring ourselves to care about others, to put the pieces together and act before our own collapse? No, I don't believe the intention was there...but who knows, perhaps this book was more brilliant than I give it credit for. Instead, however, my sense was that this book was written by someone with a talent for metaphors but virtually no gift for storytelling or dialogue, thereby significantly decreasing the impact of the desired message.
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  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    January 1, 1970
    The Heap by Sean Adams is a highly recommended dystopian novel chronicling the rise, fall, and recovery effort of a massive high rise complex.Los Verticalés was a massive high rise housing complex in the desert. Towering nearly 500 stories tall, the complex collapsed into what is called "the Heap," a pile of rubble covering 20 acres. A community of Dig Hands now live nearby in CamperTown. In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, a tiny trailer, and a small living stipend, Dig Hands The Heap by Sean Adams is a highly recommended dystopian novel chronicling the rise, fall, and recovery effort of a massive high rise complex.Los Verticalés was a massive high rise housing complex in the desert. Towering nearly 500 stories tall, the complex collapsed into what is called "the Heap," a pile of rubble covering 20 acres. A community of Dig Hands now live nearby in CamperTown. In exchange for digging gear, a rehabilitated bicycle, a tiny trailer, and a small living stipend, Dig Hands spend their days removing debris, trash, and bodies from the building’s mountainous remains. Orville Anders is a dig hand who, along with his co-worker Lydia, and many others, is looking for his brother, Bernard. Miraculously Bernard has survived the collapse and is broadcasting his radio show from somewhere in the Heap. Orville calls in to Bernard's show every night after work and talks to him on air.Chapters in this debut novel feature chapters from the present day life in the community of Dig Hands in CamperTown after the collapse and glimpses into life in Los Verticalés and the residents before the collapse. Life in the tower beforehand had two very different groups of inner and outer residents - those who could still see natural light through their apartment windows, and the rest who had to rely on images on UV screens. Life in CamperTown is a third very different community with its own set of rules and a social atmosphere. All parts of the novel become increasingly disjointed and menacing, especially when a cartel comes into the story.The Heap is an entertaining novel with some interesting world building and unique aspects in the society. While the writing could use some assistance in a few areas, the idea behind the novel and the plot help to overcome the parts that are lacking or a bit slow moving. The addition of the weird and absurd, but menacing, cartel, and the rather heedless, nonsensical and peculiar activities of the characters added a quirky, intriguing aspect to the inventive plot.Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2019/1...
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  • C
    January 1, 1970
    I was intrigued when I heard about this one! A first novel featuring a kooky scenario: a huge community in a giant skyscraper called Los Verticalés -- five hundred stories tall in the middle of a desert. It takes neighbors a twenty minute walk to visit other oddly placed neighbors. The outer residents are higher class than the inner residents (it's the windows). Then one dayLos Verticalés collapses and everyone seems gone - floor crushing floor, until Orville hears his brother over the radio, I was intrigued when I heard about this one! A first novel featuring a kooky scenario: a huge community in a giant skyscraper called Los Verticalés -- five hundred stories tall in the middle of a desert. It takes neighbors a twenty minute walk to visit other oddly placed neighbors. The outer residents are higher class than the inner residents (it's the windows). Then one dayLos Verticalés collapses and everyone seems gone - floor crushing floor, until Orville hears his brother over the radio, the DJ of Los Verticalés buried in the rubble. The concept is dark but Sean Adams does awesome work of building this strange and unique structure before the collapse. The 'before' is explained by the Displaced Travelers who happened to be away from The Vert when it collapsed and now live nostalgically in CamperTown, waiting to see what is dug up. But I wanted MORE of life before the collapse. Without the explanation of life before, the book would be worse off for it. I wasn't as attached to the Dig Hands for whatever reason, maybe because the 'before' chapters are so wonderfully layered and imaginative. The 'after' really ran with some kooky conspiracies. The characters of the 'after' mostly reminded me of 'Preacher' --the characters of Herr Starr, Lara Featherstone and F.J. Hoover. ALSO reminding me of whatever the heck was happening with Robert De Niro's character in Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil'. The 'before' mostly reminded me of the extreme inventiveness of Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities'. You could almost read the 'before' chapters on their own, just to revisit the building and learn about the unique circumstances before the Heap. I did wonder why more of the book wasn't written while the tower was still standing but seeing life real-time in The Vert may have been too much, too devastating when it finally collapses, which might be why Mr. Adams chose to view this amazing building in hindsight. I will be intrigued by what comes next from Mr. Adams.
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  • Daniel Cuthbert
    January 1, 1970
    If Orville had his way, he would prefer to spend his days in peace digging to find his brother Bernard, trapped in the rubble and the sole survivor of a collapsed super-scraper known as Los Verticales, as fast as possible. The only fleeting contact Orville has with him is when he is able to call each day into Bernard's radio show, whose somehow able to broadcast even when his whole world has collapsed around him. These interactions have turned them both into enjoying a kind of quasi-celebrity If Orville had his way, he would prefer to spend his days in peace digging to find his brother Bernard, trapped in the rubble and the sole survivor of a collapsed super-scraper known as Los Verticales, as fast as possible. The only fleeting contact Orville has with him is when he is able to call each day into Bernard's radio show, whose somehow able to broadcast even when his whole world has collapsed around him. These interactions have turned them both into enjoying a kind of quasi-celebrity status. But when Orville is presented with an opportunity to exploit this novelty between them, what starts out as a simple rescue mission quickly degenerates into a vast conspiracy of secrets, lies, and a whole lot of double-crossing! Incorporating this madcap series of events with chapters devoted to the composition and history of Los Verticales, "The Heap" by Sean Adams is definitely a twisted and quirky semi-dsytopian novel. Orville gets the most here in terms of overall development, but I think I would have preferred to see a little more development of the have/have nots issues that run through the chapters devoted to Los Verticales, but didn't seem to continue as well for me in the present day story. I appreciated to a large extent the humorous interactions with Orville and the "bad guys" in this story (to state their names would spoil certain revelations,) and this interplay is perhaps the greatest strength of the novel. This is one of those novels that defy easy typing as one thing or another, which makes it hard to recommend for one particular reader over another. Ultimately, this is the type of story that, if you don't mind falling down the rabbit hole for awhile, you will re-emerge having engaged with a rather unique and original debut!(Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received a free Advanced Reader's copy of this title from which I could create this review. All opinions are mine alone.)
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    The Heap has an absolutely fantastic premise-an entire city in one building (flashback to SImCity arcologies) that's now a pile of rubble. What happened to make it collapse? Will Orville, the protagonist, be able to rescue his brother, the one known survivor trapped in the titular heap?Unfortunately the execution just didn't work for me. While the blurb already revealed the story would take place in the rubble of "The Vert," I was hoping for some glimpses of life inside this massive structure. The Heap has an absolutely fantastic premise-an entire city in one building (flashback to SImCity arcologies) that's now a pile of rubble. What happened to make it collapse? Will Orville, the protagonist, be able to rescue his brother, the one known survivor trapped in the titular heap?Unfortunately the execution just didn't work for me. While the blurb already revealed the story would take place in the rubble of "The Vert," I was hoping for some glimpses of life inside this massive structure. There are brief glimpses in the form of excerpts from a book written by survivors, including some interesting class struggles based on window access. Despite this, it was hard to get an actual feel for what this building/city was like; how big was it, exactly? What was the layout like? What was day to day life like for a resident?The present day "dig" on the heap was hard to get into, mainly because the situation didn't seem plausible. I understand that some suspension of disbelief is necessary when dealing with a collapsed mega-tower, but it didn't make sense that the clean-up effort was rather unorganized and entirely volunteer based. The characters also seemed more focused on material salvage, rather than rescuing apparent survivors trapped in the rubble. Why was there no concerted effort to find Bernard? Wouldn't people try to map the wreckage to locate him? Maybe triangulate his location using his radio broadcasts? I know there was supposed to be some absurdist element to this, but this still didn't seem to make sense even in this universe.Sadly, this one was DNF for me at about 100 pages for me. Maybe the second two-thirds pick up, but there wasn't enough to keep me reading.A review copy was provided through the Librarything Early Reviewers program.
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  • Jeena
    January 1, 1970
    I could see where this book was going immediately after reading the blurb. That isn't always a problem-sometimes the fun is getting there. But there are so many things Sean Adams ignores that he could have explored further in the novel, and he doesn't. This book feels as if it's trying to delve into too many conversations, and just ends up being a vague comment on all of them, with some predictable plot thrown in. The writing is conversational and easy to consume, leaving plot and theme open to I could see where this book was going immediately after reading the blurb. That isn't always a problem-sometimes the fun is getting there. But there are so many things Sean Adams ignores that he could have explored further in the novel, and he doesn't. This book feels as if it's trying to delve into too many conversations, and just ends up being a vague comment on all of them, with some predictable plot thrown in. The writing is conversational and easy to consume, leaving plot and theme open to be the main threads which carry the reader through the book. But as said earlier, the plot is predictable, the themes or topics it wants to make a comment on are sparsely examined, and, additionally, the characters aren't very dimensional. For many of them, We don't know what life was like for them before The Heap. We don't know much about life outside The Heap either, making the novel feel liminal- a strange choice if the author is trying to write a satire. Read, did not enjoy the experience.
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  • Heather Warner
    January 1, 1970
    A very original and very strange book! It’s a story about a 500+ floor condo tower in the desert that collapses killing all but one inhabitant, Bernard. Bernard is buried in “the Heap” (as the Dig Hands call the collapsed tower) and is managing to broadcast on his radio equipment to the world (he was the radio DJ of Los Verticales). Orville, Bernard’s brother, works as a Dig Hand hoping to recover his brother. He speaks with his brother by phone every day. If that isn’t bizarre enough, there is A very original and very strange book! It’s a story about a 500+ floor condo tower in the desert that collapses killing all but one inhabitant, Bernard. Bernard is buried in “the Heap” (as the Dig Hands call the collapsed tower) and is managing to broadcast on his radio equipment to the world (he was the radio DJ of Los Verticales). Orville, Bernard’s brother, works as a Dig Hand hoping to recover his brother. He speaks with his brother by phone every day. If that isn’t bizarre enough, there is a Voice Cartel who makes Orville’s life very difficult. This is a dark, imaginative, and humorous tale of the weird life and death of Los Verticales and of the links between family and friends.I really enjoyed this book-the weirdness is entertaining and engaging-the premise is definitely unique. I just wanted more character depth and many more tales of life in Los Verticales, “the Heap”. Fun and interesting book!
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  • Jeff
    January 1, 1970
    I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway. This is the first thing I've read by the author.It's really more like a 3.5 stars from my standpoint. The pacing of the book is a slow build where you actually get a chance to like the characters. As the book progresses the pacing picks up. The flow of the book was really great and nothing seemed to be extraneous information. There is some good humor scatter throughout the book but for the most part I would classify it as dystopian and a bit cyberpunkish I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway. This is the first thing I've read by the author.It's really more like a 3.5 stars from my standpoint. The pacing of the book is a slow build where you actually get a chance to like the characters. As the book progresses the pacing picks up. The flow of the book was really great and nothing seemed to be extraneous information. There is some good humor scatter throughout the book but for the most part I would classify it as dystopian and a bit cyberpunkish (not that there is any real technology involved but the flow and feel are similar to the cyberpunk I've read). This was definitely worth the read, I found in interesting and entertaining. I'd pick up another book from the author without hesitation.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    This has an interesting concept- a community of people digging out the remains of a 500 story building - Los Verticales- which has collapsed in the desert. One of them, Orville, is trying to get to his brother Bernard who is improbably broadcasting from underneath the heap. Interspersed in the "present" day are chapters about the people who lived in there. There are issues of class, privilege, and so on which could have been more deeply examined (and characters, including, btw, Orville and This has an interesting concept- a community of people digging out the remains of a 500 story building - Los Verticales- which has collapsed in the desert. One of them, Orville, is trying to get to his brother Bernard who is improbably broadcasting from underneath the heap. Interspersed in the "present" day are chapters about the people who lived in there. There are issues of class, privilege, and so on which could have been more deeply examined (and characters, including, btw, Orville and Bernard) who could have been more sympathetic. There's also a cartel which shows up - and no spoilers on that! Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC. It's an unusual read for fans of dystopian novels.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book is about the aftermath of a collapse of a huge residential condominium. It has an unusual plot with some interesting twists that would seem to make an engaging read but somehow it all comes across a bit flat. The characters seem awkward, the sardonic humor doesn't come off for me and I never felt that I cared much for what was happening. The most interesting part were the brief descriptions of actual life in the complex before the building fell. I kept thinking that this is an This is a book is about the aftermath of a collapse of a huge residential condominium. It has an unusual plot with some interesting twists that would seem to make an engaging read but somehow it all comes across a bit flat. The characters seem awkward, the sardonic humor doesn't come off for me and I never felt that I cared much for what was happening. The most interesting part were the brief descriptions of actual life in the complex before the building fell. I kept thinking that this is an okay read that had the potential to rise to a higher level.I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway for this honest review.
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    DNFI don't know . . . I was excited when I picked it up. It sounded really cool, but it never did anything. The stuff about the apartment complex before it fell was the most interesting, but it was so disjointed that it ended up adding nothing to the story.Before getting too far, it really just became this guys denunciation of the world. Capitalism is the problem, woman are perfect, blah. blah. blah. Not even done creatively, but slapped in the reader's face in the first two-dozen pages.This DNFI don't know . . . I was excited when I picked it up. It sounded really cool, but it never did anything. The stuff about the apartment complex before it fell was the most interesting, but it was so disjointed that it ended up adding nothing to the story.Before getting too far, it really just became this guys denunciation of the world. Capitalism is the problem, woman are perfect, blah. blah. blah. Not even done creatively, but slapped in the reader's face in the first two-dozen pages.This thing was stupid.
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  • Bub
    January 1, 1970
    Orville, Hans and Lydia have volunteered to search through the rubble of a failed experiment in city planning. A radio broadcast has brought them together in this dig effort, but is there a villainous plot acting behind the scenes? The characterizations are poorly represented and the story weaves around too many obstacles. It left me feeling bewildered and disconnected. The author introduces characters and then gives them no place or a place of no importance. That’s my opinion. You may see it Orville, Hans and Lydia have volunteered to search through the rubble of a failed experiment in city planning. A radio broadcast has brought them together in this dig effort, but is there a villainous plot acting behind the scenes? The characterizations are poorly represented and the story weaves around too many obstacles. It left me feeling bewildered and disconnected. The author introduces characters and then gives them no place or a place of no importance. That’s my opinion. You may see it differently.
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  • Harley
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5This wasn’t a bad book by any means, but it wasn’t amazing either. I think would’ve fathered a short tv series based on the material. I really enjoyed the humor, and the story was decent. The setting and the ideas behind Los Verticales was just ok. It actually didn’t feel terribly important to the actual story. The brief likened it to Black Mirror, but it felt more like a simple brutish comedy.It was a fun read, with some twists and turns but ultimately wasn’t all that memorable. That Rating: 3.5This wasn’t a bad book by any means, but it wasn’t amazing either. I think would’ve fathered a short tv series based on the material. I really enjoyed the humor, and the story was decent. The setting and the ideas behind Los Verticales was just ok. It actually didn’t feel terribly important to the actual story. The brief likened it to Black Mirror, but it felt more like a simple brutish comedy.It was a fun read, with some twists and turns but ultimately wasn’t all that memorable. That being said, I’m going to keep Adams on my radar for his future work.
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  • Anastacia Russell
    January 1, 1970
    This is an interesting sci-fi dystopian novel. A huge city built in floors is created by a genius. Unfortunately, the city collapses. People make their living cleaning "the Heap." Orville talks to his brother on the radio and is quite the hit around the world. But reality is shocking and cruel.This book is weird fiction, in a way. You have to have an open mind. This is out in the desert and there apparently is no wifi or cell service. An entertaining read.
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  • Cj Zawacki
    January 1, 1970
    Sean Adams novel, The HEAP, is a story of a collapsed trending tower rescue of a brother searching on a dig for his brother, Benard. Orville Anders knows his brother is alive because he can call into his radio show that is on-the-air twenty four seven' Somehow Bernard still has power to broadcast. Only when Orville is contacted by an outside group to insert inconspicuously place ads into their radio conversations, does orville suspect things may not be as he thinks.
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  • Amy Figueroa
    January 1, 1970
    Very intriguing plot. I'll admit I was rather confused following through it at times and found the 'enemies' plot rather unrealistic. (I'm still trying to understand the 'why' behind the group.) I did, however, enjoy 'The Later Years' articles that told about life in Los Verticales prior to the collapse. They did a surprisingly great job bringing The Vert to life in a way that was much more realistic than the primary storyline of the radio station imposter.
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  • Donna Wetzel
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks Goodreads for my copy of The Heap by Sean Adams. This author has created a truly original story that is profound in many ways. I am impressed that the author could imagine such a world in such detail as in The Heap. The clever metaphors that are used throughout the book truly are amazing. If you are interested in a very uniquely strange book with lots of layers to uncover, I recommend you consider The Heap by Sean Adams.
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  • Chris Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    Character propelled novels, are a one-hundred-one point indicator,which reveals that the author cannot write,in simultaneous or real time,dizzy, cannot operate heavy equipment,is unable to recite the Magna Carta verbatim,has an aversion to aestheticism,and one pair of clean socks.#poemChris Roberts, Lord High Executioner of One-Star Book Reviews
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