The Wakeful Wanderer’s Guide to New New England and Beyond by Jim Infantino ’83. The last book I read before this one was Alas, Babyon, an early (1959) apocalyptic book about the world after a nuclear holocaust. Two things have changed dramatically since that time: what we fear and technology. The Wakeful Wanderer reflects our more recent dread of the big wave which will submerge our cities and force those who don’t drown onto higher ground.
Jim presents us with a drastically altered America after this new reality has set in; innovation has permitted a sizable population to acquire a technologically plausible telepathy. Marto, the protagonist, sets out (first on a unicycle) with ‘followers” sharing and evaluating his adventures as he broadcasts in real time from his mind. A tribal and divided society has emerged from the disaster, which engulfed the great cities of the east coast. We learn that angry bands have punished the tycoons of the fossil fuel industries. In this still-fragmented world, Marto is rocked by questions about his own identity. The reader, like me, becomes another follower; I really enjoyed the ride.