American Day Dream

Margot Pepper

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“American Day Dream could become a
classic like 1984 or Brave New World.
Jim Smith, The Venice Beachhead

“A great dystopian read that takes you on a journey around the streets and scenic marvels of San Francisco. More than an Orwellian dystopia, American Daydream draws on the revelations of Edward Snowden, imagining where the National Security might be leading us in the future. Added to this mélange is a passionate romance between the two main characters, the utopian counter point of the story.”
—Roger Burbach, author of Fire in the Americas

“Margot Pepper’s literary incursion into Science Fiction is just like her—daring, brave and fully imagined. She is a story goddess living in and out of verses, whose political stance is vital and necessary.”
—Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running and It Calls You Back

A Novel by Margot Pepper

Glance around. Imagine that all the scenery beyond these words isn’t real, nor are they. Instead, imagine that you’re actually locked up in a jail cell, and the “reality” around you is nothing but a digitally created illusion generated by a microchip implanted in your brain. Would you rather continue dwelling in the comfortable world you’ve always known, even if it’s not real, or would you prefer to pursue the mysterious truth about the terrible thing that has happened to you?

This provocative premise lies at the heart of American Day Dream (Freedom Voices Press, 2015), a gripping techno-dystopian thriller by San Francisco author Margot Pepper.

Set in the late decades of the 21st century, the book follows Ian, a successful graphic designer working for a big San Francisco biotech firm, on a neo-Orwellian quest to uncover the shocking truth behind his incarceration. After waking up one morning in a prison cell, delirious, confused, and being held without cause or explanation, Ian soon learns that he has somehow become a slave to his company, spending his nights in a jail cell on the 84th floor of his corporate office building, while being forced to go to work each day and act as if nothing has happened. Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s iconic landmarks, it is an entertaining futuristic love story that provides a critical and deeply reflective look at life in the information age.

Guiding Ian on his quest is his alluring bohemian co-worker Robin, who slowly helps him to discover the shocking truth that his posh, gated-community life is nothing but a digitally generated illusion. He and thousands of other citizens like him have been locked up for decades, made to think they are living happy normal lives by virtual reality chips implanted in their brains firing hyper-REM sleep states, triggered by their mobile devices and interactive screens.

Marginalized as a nut case by those who haven’t “woken up” to their condition, Ian uncovers a world of sinister mind control, omnipresent surveillance, and the bartering of civil liberties for “the pursuit of happiness.” It’s a surreal world in which workers pay mortgages for virtual houses, furnish them with virtual products, and enjoy virtual vacations to offset global warming.

At the heart of American Day Dream is the relationship between Ian and Robin. Robin attempts to seduce Ian into joining her in an underground rebellion of revolutionaries attempting to “jail-break” the technologically entranced public from their digital stupor and wake them up to the startling reality of their world. Yet before Ian can join her, he must grapple with a pressing question: is it more cruel to condemn his fellow inmates to an artificial life of blissful ignorance or to disrupt the seeming safety and comfort of their lives by rousing them from their day dream?

As with any visionary fiction, American Day Dream paints a world that is only a slightly exaggerated version of our own—a world of people addicted to gadgets, mesmerized by the media, hooked on pharmaceuticals, and made to think that they have more control over their lives than they actually do. Pepper explores the suppressed psychological and economic truths of our times through an engaging revolutionary love story that highlights the Bay Area’s cultural and scenic jewels. The tale delves into the darkness of our day, restoring light to an otherwise bleak landscape, and inspiring us to contemplate the direction we’re heading in while there’s still time to change it.

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About Margot Pepper

Some Information

Born in Mexico City, Margot Pepper is a bilingual educator, whose fiction, poetry, articles and translations have been published internationally by the Utne Reader, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, ZNet, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Monthly Review, Dollars & Sense, NACLA, Rethinking Schools, City Lights, Hampton Brown, Race, Poverty & the Environment, Prensa Latina, El Tecolote, El Andar, Canada’s The Scoop and elsewhere. She is best known for her memoir about her year working in Cuba, Through the Wall: A Year in Havana (Freedom Voices, 2005,) which was a finalist nomination for the 2006 American Book Award. She has also published a book of poetry, At This Very Moment (Freedom Voices, 1992) and most recently adystopian science fiction thriller, American Day Dream, due out January 15, 2015. Currently she is working on a book of short magic realism, The Acrobat, and Other Stories for Dark Times. Learn more at, or search for Author Margot Pepper on facebook or margot pepper on instagram.