The Wakeful Wanderer’s Guide

Amazon Reviews:

I really enjoyed reading this novel. People say "it's all been done before", but this story was original enough to make me question that common assumption. First book in a series (trilogy, I believe), and I look forward to reading the next one.
I was literally on the edge of my seat for most of this read. I LOVED this book. I was a reader early on, and so enjoyed being part of the conversation as the story developed. Anyone who wants to dive into the journey of how mindfulness can impact a possible unfolding future - strap your boots on! Jim is a natural storyteller and seriously knows how to engage an audience. I am dying for book two now!!!
Where does one begin? I am really blown away by the brilliance of this author. To invent a world that is at once utterly original and so fully realized, and also terrifyingly possible... it was a stressful joy to read Infantinio's book. If this is, indeed the first in a series, then —thanks God— there are some things to look forward to. I recommend this book to any science fiction fan, or truthfully, any avid reader of thoughtful fiction. Well done!
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.
A bit Basho's narrow road to the interior, a bit Douglas Adams and the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. Paints a refreshingly original idea for a new economy based on giving, trust and merit while introducing some rich and likable characters. A fun journey - and you learn a bit about New England too.
I really loved this book. Very much. And I cannot wait for part 2 to come out.
I will confess, it was hard for me to get into reading this book because of the communication style the characters use with each other. The dialog isn't written like anything you may be used to reading. Jim frames this in an interesting fashion and for me it was almost like reading a foreign language (technically I guess it is. Thexting isn't the way I speak or read, I'm not a Xombie!)
Once I got past that initial lump, and the story really started to take shape, I was immersed.
On the surface, what starts out as a simple tour guide book with Marto toodlin' aboot the NY/Southern New England area and sharing his findings with his audience turns into a massive culture war, with chaos and intrigue. The old guard wants control, money, commerce, and power; the new humans want peace and just to live and farm and love and just be.
It was a great read for me having grown up on Long Island and having spent so much of my life in the areas he writes about, imagining what the landscape would be like in the places I also wakefully wandered. Jim paints an amazing post-apocalyptic picture of towns and communities.
Finished the book while on vacation this week on the Oregon Coast. While driving down 101 from Astoria to Florence I couldn't help but imagine what this area might look like in Jim's future world, because of course the Cascadia Subduction Zone will take this entire region down when it goes. Not sure Marto would ever make it out here though, it's a long unicycle ride.

updated: 2 months ago