Pop-culture maven and Entertainment Weekly editor Gaslin pours it all into his first novel, a frenetic and trippy consumerist vision of America.
BeemerTM Minutia grew up in a series of small cities, indistinguishable from one another, soaking up the mass culture of the ’80s. His schedule for making BeemerTM a global brand is in place before he leaves high school. By age 25, he’s made a small splash as a youth-consultant to corporations, known for living in a car while remaining plugged into the mediasphere. Beemer loves and embraces the excesses of America, the beauty of newerfastershinierbigger, while best/only friend, James Dean–like Stamp, quests for the authentic thing, pursuing a trucker/factory-worker/cowboy lifestyle, making himself out of pieces of America’s past every bit as synthetic as Beemer’s beloved future. Beemer’s girlfriend, lovely and ruthless Paul E. Klein, even more ambitious than Beemer, demands that he join “Regularland.” So Beemer gets a job and moves into a basement room in her family’s typical southern California home; in the next room, Paul’s mysterious genius brother, 13-year-old Young Brandon Tartikoff, plays intriguing but unseen video games when not out with his scary teenage crew. While Beemer works on pure advertising—product is irrelevant, manipulation the point—on the secret floor of a powerful agency, Paul’s management client, the ultimate nonthreatening boy band Eunuch-Town, is on-site when a mall is blown up by teenage anticonsumerist terrorists led by her brother, and she uses the media spotlight to turn the band into the number-one entertainment commodity. When Paul leaves for a world tour, Beemer confronts her brother and learns that his own fear that the next generation has left him behind is true: So Beemer leaves the world altogether to become a desert hermit who’ll wait until the world finds him and makes him the next big thing.
Giddy, gaudy, inventive, slapdash satire. Loads of fun, often over-the-top, yet in its way as simple and earnest as On the Road.