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So You Wanna Run a Country?


A satirical cyberpunk romp pitting fascist feudalism against rampant reality television corruption, with the future of humanity at stake

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What people are saying…

“Holohan’s prose pops and crackles as he combines an outlandish yet convincing vision of a tech-dominated future reminiscent of William Gibson with the wry wit of Neil Gaiman, and the result proves exceedingly funny . . . Holohan’s silly dystopia, replete with ridiculous place names (“Newer York” and “Grander Central Station”) and winking acronyms (“Consumer-Responsive Unscripted Drama”), strikes an utterly enjoyable medium between Futurama and Infinite Jest . . . A raucous, engrossing, unsettling whirlwind of a story that is as disarmingly novel as it is disturbingly familiar.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In a dystopian cyberpunk future, the eponymous reality show replaces the governments of small countries with underqualified contestants who struggle to lead, all for the sake of mass entertainment.”
Publishers Weekly

“[A] wacky, freewheeling cyberpunk story by the author of The Brothers’ Lot.

“Original, deftly crafted, iconoclastic, thought-provoking, entertaining, and very definitely a novel for our times, So You Wanna Run a Country? will have a very special appeal to readers with an interest in cyberpunk/post-apocalyptic science fiction.”
Midwest Book Review

“Nothing this madcap should be this chilling. A heat-seeking missile for the facades which dress despotism up and give it cover, So You Wanna Run a Country? is fueled by that scorching satire we saw in Kevin Holohan’s debut, The Brothers’ Lot—but this time the whole planet’s on fire. Visionary, virtuosic, and violently funny, this novel looks directly at the eclipse that is twenty-first-century life and somehow comes away with the strangest floaters of hope.”
—Belinda McKeon, author of Tender

“Here’s a book of rare and savory humor. I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story, the silky political subtext—echoes of Gibson and Orwell—the integrity of the imagined world, and something all-prevalent and crafted so subtly as scarcely to draw attention to itself: the author’s trust in the reader’s intelligence. The projection of the digital world of spectacle leaves a chilling aftertaste that is both timely and salutary, yet there is a note of hope and yearning that soars beyond the allegorical and satirical strands of the story.”
—Theo Dorgan, author of Orpheus


“[Holohan] possesses his own distinct voice. Especially useful as therapy for recovering Catholics or to tweak apologists of the church, this impressive debut is highly recommended.”
Library Journal, starred review of The Brothers’ Lot


So You Wanna Run a Country? is a satirical parable of the perils of authoritarianism, nationalism, and device-dependent group-think. After almost a century of being shut off from the rest of the world in self-imposed isolation, the neo-medieval statelet of Inner Azhuur suddenly volunteers to host the next season of the global streaming sensation So You Wanna Run a Country? The producers must now assemble the next crew of unqualified misfits whose ineptitude as they attempt to run the country will entertain millions across the globe.

From Newer York, where homelessness has been rebranded as a lifestyle choice, come our two heroes: Mooney, a vagabond who has pledged his fate to Captain Dude, a mysterious statue attached to a skateboard; and Wendy, a Wall Street rebel on the run. Cast as Regent of Inner Azhuur and Consort to the Regent respectively, they are joined by Skid, a failed Dubliner musician eager to escape his job as a staged street gang member in a fake Glasgow tourist site.

Arriving to Inner Azhuur, these three encounter a world of antiquated and indecipherable customs, all meant to return Inner Azhuur to some perceived former glory. As the reality show unfolds, our misfits become enmeshed in a mad power grab of overweening global ambition and find themselves in a struggle against the all-too-real, ruthless, and sinister power brokers of Inner Azhuur. Holohan’s mischievous literary voice is sure to please fans of cyberpunk greats like Philip K. Dick and William Gibson.

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Published: 3/5/24
  • IBSN: 9781636141602
  • e-IBSN: 9781636141688


KEVIN HOLOHAN’s debut novel was the critically acclaimed The Brothers’ Lot, which the Times Literary Supplement called “a witty, brilliant, devastating expression of outrage.” Holohan’s stories and essays have appeared in the Sunday Tribune, Whispers and Shouts, the Irish Echo, and Writing.ie. He has performed the works of Beckett, Joyce, and others at the Irish Arts Center, An Beal Bocht Cafe, and Dixon Place. A native of Dublin, Holohan now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

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