By: Eric James Fullilove
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: August 3, 2023
Reviewed by: Trix Lee-Rainwater
Review Date: September 12, 2023
If half the world starts sinking tomorrow, how will the other half cope? Let’s find out in Overlord by Eric James Fullilove.
The beginning of the end happens in 2027, when three hurricanes devastate Houston and essentially wipe it off the map. In the following months, rapid massive melting of the polar ice caps somehow pulls the continental tectonic plates down by several hundred feet. In a matter of months, the entire East Coast of the United States is wiped out, quickly followed by the fall of the West Coast. The aftermath is a landscape of chaos and despair, marked by a tremendous loss of life and the looming specter of destabilization, potentially creating the conditions for a civil war. The nation’s leadership is in shambles. The president is dead and the next three people in line for succession have all vanished. In their absence, an illegitimate government led by a general takes the reins of power. Borders between the remaining dry land and the devastated coastal areas are now sealed to prevent the refugees from moving inland. The people who have been swept out of their homes are now derogatorily called “coasties” and are brought into detention centers. They no longer have basic human rights. The detention centers are set up to corral the coasties, who are then subjected to forced labor or dispatched on perilous missions with high casualty rates.
Two years into this apocalyptic nightmare, a ragtag team of prisoner coasties is sent to put out the fire from a burning oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Madison Cervantes, a former Miami police officer, leads this crew, which includes Reaper, a former military man turned armed security; Gunnerson, a construction company owner and demolitions expert; Sensabaugh “Sense,” a former Presidential Secret Service agent; and Night, a Silicon Valley engineering supervisor. Their mission takes an even more perilous turn when they discover they are sent into the middle of a category 5 hurricane, with a mere three-hour window to complete their operation before they are stuck in the middle of the tempest. To make matters worse, the submerged regions teem with genetically-engineered polar bears known as "Moglis" – apex predators that are larger, more aggressive, amphibious, and perpetually ravenous. A daunting dozen of these formidable creatures encircle the blazing oil rig.
Overlord by Eric James Fullilove is a thought-provoking work of dystopian fiction that plunges readers into a world reeling from a catastrophe that obliterated entire states, leaving devastation and despair in its wake. This is a plot-driven story that tackles the consequences and resulting implications of a world-changing catastrophe and the events that follow. Set against the backdrop of a resource-scarce and space-constrained society, it raises the age-old dilemma: should outsiders be admitted at the risk of one’s own people, or should they be kept at bay to protect the existing order? The author chose the latter and expounded on it with nuance. This book also sheds light on the weaponization of racism as a means of rallying and mobilizing people. Fullilove’s story has realistic dialogues and engaging action sequences. The relentless pace keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they grapple with questions about morality, survival, and societal collapse. Given its thrilling and fairly straightforward storyline, Overlord has the potential to captivate a diverse audience, making it highly accessible for many.
Quill says: Overlord is an engaging and accessible dystopian fiction that explores the consequences of climate change, much like a prequel of Waterworld.