A weird amalgam of science fiction, satire and social commentary, from Wenzel (Gotham Tragic, 2004, etc.).
The year is 2017, and talent agencies are effectively in control of L.A. Digital billboards pervade the cityscape, the dominant image being the iconically named Colt Reston, a former minor-league ballplayer whose astonishing good looks (“a face contoured as if by the gods”) propel him to superstardom in the movie industry. (Even in the near future, image governs all.) Colt’s best friend is Marshall Reed, whose script for Chula Vista is widely seen as a masterpiece of 21st-century filmmaking. The only problem is that Chula Vista came out in 2009, so Reed is now a has-been whose “career had been in permanent retrograde” since his first, astounding success. He spends his time blissed out on Bliss, the 21st-century drug of choice, and scornfully receives the “whatever-happened-to’s” of everyone who bumps into him. In this over-commercialized world, where you’re never sure whether the person you’re talking to is a friend or someone being paid to shill toothpaste or shampoo, trouble is brewing in the form of the enigmatic Mr. Black, whose cryptic tract, Black Book, is making an impact on those discontented with the technological status quo. An underground army of black-clad enthusiasts begins to pull down the digital billboards and generally cause a technological rumpus. Mr. Black refuses to be seen and only grants one interview, to ambitious television anchor Lindsay Williams, who wants to ride Black’s notoriety to her own stardom. This is, after all, L.A., where everyone wants to “make it” and you’re only as successful as your latest scoop. All power seems to reside in the heads of NetTalent and Talent United, two rivals who’ll stop at nothing to bring each other—or Mr. Black—down. When Colt comes down with a mysterious disfiguring disease, he knows his career is being sabotaged, but by whom?
Outlandish and oddball funny.