Random Acts of Senseless Violence
First edition (UK)
|Genre||Speculative fiction, dystopian novel|
Atlantic Monthly Press (US)
|October 1993 (UK)
September 1994 (US)
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
The novel is told in the form of a fictional diary by the 12-year-old protagonist Lola Hart, and details Lola and her family's experiences in a near-future Manhattan in which violence, rising unemployment, and riots are commonplace in the city, as well as the rest of the United States. As the novel progresses, Lola transforms from a student at one of Manhattan's most privileged private schools to a street-wise gangster as she and her family struggle to survive the despair of a crumbling government and economy.
The book did not attract significant attention on release; though there were a few reviews, it was not nominated for any awards even though Womack's previous work, Elvissey won the prestigious Philip K. Dick Award and was shortlisted for the Locus Award. In a July 2008 article for Tor.com, Jo Walton decried the critical neglect of the work. Walton speculated that its lack of prominence was due to its initial low-key reception, the "singularly appalling" cover art of the early editions, a title that was "off-putting" and misleading, and its disconnect from the zeitgeist of the time, which was focused on cyberpunk and space opera. She was echoed by fellow science fiction author Cory Doctorow, who described the work as "an unflinching, engrossing, difficult coming-of-age story" and referred to it as "Womack's underappreciated masterpiece".
- 1993, UK, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-246-13850-5, Pub date October 1993, Hardback
- 1994, US, Atlantic Monthly Press, ISBN 0-87113-577-9, Pub date September 1994, Hardback
- 1994, UK, HarperCollins, ISBN 0-586-21320-1, Pub date October 1994, Paperback
- 1995, US, Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-3424-6, Pub date Octeber 1995, Paperback
- 2013, UK, Gollancz, ISBN 0-575-13230-6, Pub date October 2013, Paperback
- Di Filippo, Paul (March 19, 2001). "Going, Going, Gone". SCI FI Weekly. Retrieved 2008-10-02.[dead link]
- Siegel, Robert (January 11, 1995). "REVIEW OF `RANDOM ACTS OF SENSELESS VIOLENCE'". All Things Considered. NPR. "HOST:New York City in the very near future is the setting for a new novel by science fiction writer, Jack Womack. The book is called Random Acts of Senseless Violence. It traces the evolution of a privileged, 12-year-old, Manhattan school girl from innocence to experience against the background of a crumbling city. Alan Cheuse has this review ALAN CHEUSE, Critic: Lola Hart [sp] attends Briarly, one of the poshest of Manhattan's private schools."
- Walton, Jo (July 25, 2008). "Random Acts of Senseless Violence: Why isn't it a classic of the field?". Tor.com. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
- Doctorow, Cory (July 25, 2008). "Jack Womack's underappreciated masterpiece, "Random Acts of Senseless Violence"". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2008-09-30.