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Exploring issues of corporate hegemony, Pap is truly a 21st century dystopia. It describes a world where a single corporation, PapCorp, has come to dominate all facets of daily life from security to water, agriculture to the news. Through their omnipotent PapDrive Corneal Implants, without which modern life would be impossible, PapCorp even influences what people see around them and their most intimate memories.

In Manchester, under the Bio-domes of PapCorp's home city, the presenter of PapNews' Humbolt Hour, Vincent Humbolt, spends most of his programme gossiping about the never-ending sex scandals around the corporation's CEO. This leaves only seconds for a montage of another PapSec victory overseas. Not that Vincent's wife, Naomi, cares about any of that - she needs shoes for the PAPTA awards and doesn't have the credit to buy them.

Meanwhile, millions flee their homes as the land dies beneath them. Drought, pollution, storms, and sometimes the end of PapSec's long arm, all drive people from their homes. People like Aliya Talavera, her parents and the rest of the citizens of Murcia, made homeless after PapPop built the fifth letter of their logo around the city to create the world's largest advertisement, and sent in PapSec to clear the 'Anarcho-terrorist' stronghold in its midst.

Pap is the first of three novels exploring the same theme. The next book, PapUp, will chronicle the rise of the world's greatest corporation, while the third novel, PapDown, will tell the story of PapCorp's inevitable downfall."

264 pages, Paperback

Published March 21, 2016

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About the author

Adam R. Mathews

3 books5 followers
Adam R. Mathews is a novelist and a teacher, a scientist and a cyclist. Equally at home managing language schools or running degrowth workshops, he is an incessant traveller and a keen localist.

After the concept of an all-pervasive corporation came to him while walking in Manchester’s Whitworth Park, Adam spent a decade stewing on his neo-liberal dystopia before he started to write. In that time he lived across Europe, from Budapest to Madrid, immersing himself in the cultures, quirks and social movements of his adopted homes.

Adam weaves his experiences into his writing, to make fiction that challenges the shortcomings of neo-liberalism. His first novel Pap came out in 2016, but the foundation tale PapRise is the book he always wanted to write. He recently moved back to the UK in order to promote his work. Find out more at aimlesswanderer.org.

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Hanna Hámori.
1 review12 followers
November 29, 2016
Adam Mathews' Pap is a curved mirror to our age, our social, political, environmental and economical issues. Since I read it, more and more things are actually coming true of those written in the book, which is rather frightening.
The strory is so close to us, yet the style is really thrilling it was hard to put it down at all. The characters are realistic, the places are well-known for most europeans. The problems raised in the novel are the problems of our time, and this piece of art is a great and amusing reminder that we'd better start caring about them now, or else we find ourselves on the pages of a dark distopia.
Hope to read sequels or prequels of it soon.
3 reviews3 followers
February 8, 2017
I'm a sucker for Dystopian worlds with a heavy Tech influence. More specifically I enjoy seeing worlds where future tech is imagined. PAP is lousy with that and does it pretty well in my opinion. I'm not a big "review-writer" guy on here for reasons I've mentioned (mainly, I have big respect for the people who spend quality time on their reviews) and don't really have time to get super detailed. NO SPOILERS from me but I'll touch a couple areas you might be interested in...

1. The Writing - it really stood out to me as one of the big positive attributes. Its structured well overall, its descriptive and detailed in the best possible ways and the damn thing moves along. Never did I find myself skipping paragraphs or just willing the story to move forward.

2. The Story - I mentioned the Dystopian Future and Tech stuff. Its a "Corporations run the world" story which is EVERYWHERE these days. TV and books etc. If you are tired of this, OK. If you want more, this is a solid option. It does have new little oddities and twists. A few things here I hadn't seen before. FYI - PAP is the Company - Some of the little intricacies of just how entrenched in society they've become are hokey at first and then frightening as you move along - If you allow yourself to believe the world IS how the author says it is. Of course this disbelief suspension is mandatory in a lot of these stories.

I don't really think there were any big surprises in the plot BUT maybe there are a couple twists that will get some people? Hard to tell.

Ironically based on #1 above - the only major "Con" I'll bring up is I'm not sure enough "stuff" actually happened from start to finish to satiate people. I think I saw another review that brought this up and I think there is merit in this critique. However, I enjoyed the ride and world Mr. Mathews has built and I think its makes up for this in these areas. That make any sense?

OH Dialogue! I guess this goes in writing above but I've read some pretty awful dialogue lately. Its weird - Maybe just unlucky with 3 or 4 in row. A series as well. Anyway....PAP was solid in this department too. At least I never felt dejected at how clunky the human interactions were.

Overall - I'd read PAP if you want another story in the genre with some new components. The writing is very good and the story is ...pretty good. It moves along briskly which is key for me. The world is interesting and a little unnerving.
2 reviews
August 29, 2021
I read this book in a day. Its intertwining stories set in a world of contrast between the superfluous and controlled life inside PAP’s cities and the perils experienced by people outside or against them, were just to fascinating to put the book down.
Adam emerges the readers in the worlds of his protagonists by meticulous details, clever dialogues, and unexpected twists.
Having read PAP Rise, I just cant wait for the last one in the trilogy!
86 reviews5 followers
January 24, 2017
I really wanted to like this book; I mean, I got it for free (in exchange for a review), and it looked really promising: a distopian future setting used as a critique of our present age and a warning of what may be in store for us. Unfortunately, I was quickly disabused of my hopes.

First, I kept waiting (and waiting) for the characters to do something - anything! - that showed a little initiative and for the plot to give me a little dramatic conflict to hang on to, something against which the characters might react and develop. Instead, they just get shunted along by arbitrary authorial fate. At p. 68, I made a note: "I feel as if I'm still getting to know the characters and am waiting for some sort of action to take place. It feels like a sci-fi Grapes of Wrath. Wrong word usage is starting to bother me." I was being too generous with the Grapes of Wrath comparison, but this brings me to my next point.

The book was filled to bursting with poor editing, comma-splices, sentence-fragments, and my personal bête noire, wrong word usage. I'll provide only a few examples here: "their movement was an abhorration[sic] in the stagnant ambiance of the station." "He didn't pause at the barrier, he simply walked straight through with none of last night's palaver." [Maybe he means hesitation or trepidation?] "That elegant black lady in the beautiful dress was lying on the floor, sheltering her children in her arms and the contents of her basket spewed over the concrete." And then there are the weird metaphors: "Dolores wiped Aliyá's hair, uncovering a face that growled like an earthquake." "At first it was just the smallest of ripples in the anvil of La Mancha, but the hillocks soon grew."

It isn't really until around p. 137 when finally we see any conflict develop that stirs the characters to action, and when we do, it feels contrived because we have never really gotten into their heads. To make matters worse, it's a love scenario that is comepletely implausible. My summation from my notes:

"Progress of a love affair: (1) kick her (2) apologize and if she smiles, sit down and put your arm around her (3) offer her a ride (4) in the car, run your fingers through her hair uninvited and stroke her cheek. Tell her she's pretty. (5) try to kiss her at the end of the ride."

Of course, one might have seen this coming from an earlier gratuitous mention of Aliyá's "pert nipples" and "taut thighs" when she is isolated, told to strip, and then hosed down with some sort of gooey disinfectant in an intake procedure -- not exactly the sort of scenario that normally makes a woman feel all pert and taut and sexy. Later, after Aliyá's new boyfriend has dropped her back off at her concentration camp (yes, that's right), she meets a "stout black woman" who "rearranges her enormous breasts" and gives her advice on how to smuggle food they find in the trash back for the cook-pot: "We're both women, we both have places to secrete a firm carrot, and maybe even enjoy it in the process." Everything about this scene is so deliciously bad it's funny but not, unfortunately, funny in the way the author hopes.

In the interest of brevity, I'll try to summarize other problems I had with the plot and characterization. Explanation of the characters' motivations is almost completely lacking. Plot points and character decisions "just happen" when it's convenient for the story. Ramifications of repeated irresponsible decisions on the part of characters have implausibly minor consequences: (Oh, yeah, hi boss! Sorry I did a no-call-no-show on the news hour bearing my name! What!? Just because I wanted to get laid? Well, heh, uhh... Ok. Ok, I'll see you tomorrow then!). Aliyá's father seems to pop in and out of existence at the author's convenience (Aliyá and Vincent are having sexy time in the top bunk of her 4-bunk room while, apparently, her father is in the other bunk right across the way). And finally, a bit before the cliff-hanger ending of the book, the author decides that we need a specific villain (for the sequel?) other than the system as a whole, so who do we meet? A bad-guy general who is (a) short, (b) has a high voice, and as if this alone weren't enough to inspire our hatred, (c) he wears a HITLER MOUSTACHE!!!

*Drops mic* I'm out.

Profile Image for Sally Hannoush.
1,880 reviews23 followers
December 9, 2016
I want to start out with a quote from the book. "A city with its soul ripped out." It seems like a good tagline for the book. There was a lot of uncaring despiration- both with the rich and the poor. All the technology that leads our lives instead of reality of what is around us is becoming more real as each year passes. The media showing us only what they want to and spinning things to make the "big guy" look good. Who can you trust? We see a few different points of views in the story which gives us a lot of various ways to look at things. The ending was a surprise.
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