I arrived at Powell’s early— before the author even—so I could do some work on the site. I was told to expect a “crazy” author talk.

Powell’s kicked things off by noting that all the drinking fountains were shut off and so were the bathrooms. Pretty sure they’re joking. Pretty sure. They already dimmed the lights. Presumably because hydroelectric power is limited.

Sherwood Nation by Benjamin Parzybok
Sherwood Nation by Benjamin Parzybok

Sherwood Nation is set in a time when a massive drought has gripped the nation, even more so on the West Coast and in Portland. But Parzybok insists the book is not about that apocalypse.

“I really disagree with the constant exposure to apocalypse,” he said.

He’s talking about the media obsessions: asteroids, zombies, ebola. Instead, he says that Sherwood Nation explores how humans react during a time of collapse. He was inspired by imagining the Roman Empire and what happened to the rest of the world after its collapse. Further, it’s a book that explores what it would be like in Portland to re-invent itself in the wake of calamity.

The Sherwood Nation

In the book, Portland is under severe water restrictions. In this author talk, the same was true. The front row was deputized as a Sherwood Nation “Water Carrier” where we carried one unit of water— a very small amount, like 1/4 of a dixie cup— and a light to the others in the audience. Of course, some went without, which mirrored the theme of the book.

Water Carrier: Sherwood Nation
Deputies of the Sherwood Nation bore official patches


Parzybok is quick to point out though that water scarcity wasn’t the motivation for the book rather it was a device to put the city in a slowly-moving—”boring”—apocalypse during which it’s denizens could re-invent themselves and their society.

GeekyLibrary purchased a copy of for a review of Sherwood Nation; and it’s available now at Powell’s Books.