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Chance of Rain?

Sherwood Nation

Benjamin Parzybok



“We ask that you stay calm,” the mayor said. “We’re Portlanders, right? We have thrived in prosperity, and we can endure hardship. To those who may feel the need to secure quantities of water, by whatever means, I ask you to have trust. Trust in your government, trust in me. We will provide. We will help each other get through. No one will go thirsty.” In drought-stricken Portland, Oregon, a Robin Hood-esque water thief is caught on camera redistributing an illegal truckload of water to those in need. Nicknamed Maid Marian—real name: Renee, a 20-something barista and eternal part-time college student—she is an instant folk hero. Renee rides her swelling popularity and the public's disgust at how the city has abandoned its people, raises an army . . . and secedes a quarter of the city. Even as Maid Marian and her compatriots build their community one neighbor at a time, they are making powerful enemies amongst the city government and the National Guard. Sherwood is an idealistic dream too soon caught in a brutal fight for survival. Sherwood Nation is the story of the rise and fall of a micro-nation within a city. It is a love story, a war story, a grand social experiment, a treatise on hacking and remaking government, on freedom and necessity, on individualism and community. EDITORIAL REVIEWS "With climate change and ever-increasing consumption, running out of water is a danger we don’t readily acknowledge, yet Benjamin Parzybok’s Sherwood Nation makes that danger vividly real. . . . Here we see how people behave in crisis—some better and some worse—and how idealism, self-concerned realism, and the personal hang in a balance; friends, alliances, and enemies are made.” Library Journal “What makes Sherwood Nation so compelling and, frankly, often terrifying, is how close to home it lives. This Portland is totally familiar, invoking the attitudes and spirit of today’s residents and details from the recent political landscape. It feels like the place we know — until a nightly power blackout or parade of National Guard water distribution tankers jars us with a reminder that this is, thankfully, a work of very good fiction." Register Guard "Benjamin Parzybok has reached into the post-collapse era for a story vital to our here and now. Sherwood Nation is part political thriller, part social fable, and part manifesto, its every page brimming with gonzo exuberance." Jedediah Berry

About the Author

Benjamin Parzybok is the author of the novels Couch (two time Indie-Next pick) and Sherwood Nation. His short stories have appeared in the Bellevue Literary Review, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed Magazine and West Branch. Among his other projects, he co-founded Gumball Poetry, a literary journal published in gumball capsule machines, co-ran Project Hamad, an effort to free a Guantanamo inmate Adel Hamad (who is now free) and co-runs “Black Magic Insurance Agency,” a one-night city-wide alternative reality game. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with the artist Laura Moulton. He also founded and is the current Chief Technology Officer of the startup Walker Tracker. and @sparkwatson ​

Benjamin Parzybok

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