Thursday 25 February 2016

Futurist Violence and Fancy Suits

By David Wong

There are so many internet connected devices available.  I have the usual devices: smartphone, gaming consoles, a connected TV, a tablet, a regular computer.  I haven’t got a smartwatch yet and virtual reality googles are still a bit too expensive, but I expect I will get them eventually.  All this technology is going to mean that I’ll be connected to everyone else all the time.  The consequences of this may be… interesting.   This is where David Wong’s action comedy novel Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits comes in.

Set in a near future where global citizens’ public and private actions are publicly broadcast over the internet daily and criminals commit crimes on demand to get high view counts on entertainment feeds, Zoey Ashe is forced by circumstance to flee her comfortable trailer park life. She finds herself in the new city of Tabula Rasa, the ultimate corporate town, totally free of government interference, where money rules the day and even murder is a regular business transaction. Zoey discovers upon her arrival that she is tied to the city much more closely than she could have expected and that she has enemies quite eager to see her dead as soon as possible. With everyone streaming her whole ordeal live Zoey can’t find a moment of peace or a place to hide.  How will she manage to keep her potential killers off her back, even as the whole world watches nearly every move she makes?

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is exactly what the title promises.  You can expect fancy technology, weird weapons, and fashionable hitmen.  It’s far from an intellectual piece, though it does work as a goof on modern internet culture.   After all, it’s an action comedy with lots of crude humor and cultural references, a bit like a version of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One that doesn’t rely as much on nostalgia.  Think of it as a modern-day Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as written by an American editor of, the successor to the magazine that was the competitor of MAD magazine (because it was: David Wong is that editor).

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