Fiction - Dystopia
253 Pages
Reviewed on 01/20/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and philosopher. He loves chocolate and his Labrador, Sunny. He's interested in the nature of social groups, personal identity, freedom, and the nature of the mind. His passion is translating philosophical debate around these topics into works of science fiction, while gorging himself on chocolate.

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

The great accomplishment of indie authorship and self-publishing is that books like Hedon by Jason Werbeloff will not only be written, but they also provide for a reading experience beyond the limits imposed by traditional publishers. Mr. Werbeloff has written a sci-fi fantasy that is brave in its interpretation of homosexuality and imaginatively rich with the worlds of Shangri and the Ghetto. This is a story of a dystopian society that’s as politically depraved as anyone could ever desire. This is a story of two separate communities living side by side, but not equal in rights or privileges. The people in Shangri are well to do with happiness as their currency, measured by meters implanted in the backs of their heads. Happiness is mandatory, but an imbalance in the amount of pleasure received versus altruistic joy given will bring out The Tax Man; an altogether bad experience for the guilty party. Alternatively, the Ghetto inhabitants have been left behind. They still use money for trade, live in shanty shacks, embrace heterosexuality and are subservient to the rulers of Shangri. The residents of the Ghetto also suffer a form of population control through the annual Culling. A ritual that is as brutal and despicable as any you’ll ever read.

The primary characters, Cyan, Gemini, Anand and The Tax Man 16, are exceptionally well developed. Each of these actors will remind the reader of someone they know…someone they either love, sympathize or empathize with or even someone they hate. There are several notable supporting roles that appear throughout the tale, and each is equally well established and defined. In Hedon, Mr. Werbeloff has excelled in ‘showing not telling’ an array of problematic concepts with a minimum of didactic narrative. I was thoroughly impressed with the degree of verisimilitude maintained through every facet of the story. This is storytelling at its best…characterization, dialog, descriptive narrative, pace, plot and subplot interaction and conclusion…simply all the pieces fit — perfectly.

Faridah Nassozi

What used to be the United States is now called Shangri, and with the new name came a number of changes. Shangri is in a drive to control population and ensure adequate resources for its people. To do so, heterosexual activities are strictly illegal and engaging in such can get one relegated to the ghetto or worse. For some, the choice is to either accept mandatory gay sex, or be pushed into the ghetto where living conditions were appalling. Happiness of every citizen is the ultimate goal; if you are unhappy, then you are better off dead. Cyan and Gemini entered Shangri after winning the lottery but they soon discover that life in Shangri was not as glorious as it was said to be. They had three months to fulfil their obligation to the authorities, but two months down the road, Cyan was not yet pregnant. Then one evening while at the Market, Cyan meets Anand, an offender serving his sentence as a serviceman. One night of passion results into a pregnancy, and the two have to flee before the two-week gestation period is up and hopefully avoid the ever watchful eye of the Tax Man. This sets into motion a series of events that would bring change of an unimaginable magnitude.

Imagine a place where your level of happiness and satisfaction is the measure of your wealth. One would think that such would be a dream place to live. But wait until you have read Hedon by Jason Werbeloff and see the price you will have to pay for such a place. Hedon is a one of a kind dystopian novel that combines a unique plot, brilliant setting and gripping characters. The setting is surreal, believable and vividly imaginable, and each new subplot adds another layer of intrigue and suspense to an already well rounded story. The character development is another thing to be applauded. Each character is unique and yet they complement each other to bring this one of a kind novel to life. Flashbacks to the characters' backgrounds were very handy in enabling me to understand and connect with the characters better without slowing down the pace of the story. Hedon is a captivating sci-fi/dystopian winner.

Savannah Edelen (Teen Reviewer)

Hedon by Jason Werbeloff is a simply fantastic book, set in a dystopian world where you have to be happy and make others happy or the tax man will come for you. Cyan and Anand live in this world. Cyan is a woman from the ghettos who won the lottery and moved to the city to try for a child with her husband, Gemini. Anand is a servicemen who works at the bath house and loves to cook. When Cyan’s husband tells her to go to the market to get food for dinner, she does as he says, glad to get out of the house and away from the stress of trying to get pregnant or fall. When she is on her way home from the market, she bumps into Anand and they go back to his house and make love. Later that night, she falls and now Cyan and Anand are on the run. Will they be caught and killed or will they survive it all?

I loved this book. As I read it, it felt as though I was living in the dystopian world with Cyan and Anand. I could feel the fear that Cyan felt when she had to go on the run, the worry that Anand had in leaving the city. He had lived his entire life in the city and I loved the fear and worry that emitted from him about it. My favorite part was when they left the city and all the new things that Anand experienced. The writing was detailed and was amazing to read. The ability to transport you into the book is not one that is easily found. So few authors can do it as completely as Jason Werbeloff did in Hedon. I am glad that I read such a good book.