Random Acts of Senseless Violence

Random Acts of Senseless Violence is a dystopian and speculative fiction novel by Jack Womack.[3]

Random Acts of Senseless Violence
First edition (UK)
AuthorJack Womack
CountryUnited States
Series"Dryco" series[1]
GenreSpeculative fiction, dystopian novel
PublisherHarperCollins (UK)
Atlantic Monthly Press (US)[2]
Publication date
October 1993 (UK)
September 1994 (US)[2]
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Preceded byElvissey 
Followed byGoing, Going, Gone 

Plot introductionEdit

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.[3] 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.[3]

Critical receptionEdit

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.[4] In a July 2008 article for Tor.com, Jo Walton decried the critical neglect of the work.[4] 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.[4] 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".[5]

Publication historyEdit



  1. ^ Di Filippo, Paul (March 19, 2001). "Going, Going, Gone". SCI FI Weekly. Archived from the original on October 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
  2. ^ a b c isfdb
  3. ^ a b c 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.
  4. ^ a b c 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.
  5. ^ Doctorow, Cory (July 25, 2008). "Jack Womack's underappreciated masterpiece, "Random Acts of Senseless Violence"". Boing Boing. Retrieved 2008-09-30.