An acid cultural satire that skewers what we would miss most about the online world.

NOTES FROM THE INTERNET APOCALYPSE

Cracked.com contributor Gladstone offers up an outlandishly specific takedown of online culture via the popular apocalypse comedy genre.

Readers who don’t dabble regularly on the Web won’t get it, but fans of sites like Reddit, Instagram or Facebook (or streaming pornography, come to think of it) should find themselves howling at this profane, very funny comedy about our worldwide addiction to the Internet. In fact, this satiric adventure already has fans worldwide, having first appeared in a different version on Cracked.com as short, serialized entries, supposedly from a journal found in a Dumpster in Bayside, N.Y. Basically, one day, the Internet just stops, and things quickly get weird. Activists from Anonymous and Occupy pretty much escape unscathed, but much of the population shuts down, becoming zombies with no Web-based stimuli. Other subcultures struggle to reproduce themselves in their unplugged versions, leading to the hilarious image of Reddit addicts screaming at each other in circles on the street. “Gladstone,” our narrator, begins investigating the Internet's disappearance with Tobey, formerly only an online chat buddy, and Oz—short for Ozzygrrl69—a smoking hot Australian girl whose income dried up when she could no longer shower in front of perverts via webcam. In Central Park, a former librarian dubs himself “Jeeves,” answering questions for $5 each, and quickly goes viral. When Jeeves dubs Gladstone the “Internet Messiah,” all hell breaks loose, and Gladstone finds himself on a mad dash through 4Chan meetups, epic bar crawls, the “Rule 34 Club” (you’ll have to Google it if that doesn’t ring a bell) and the narrator’s own frighteningly unstable psyche to get to the bottom of things. Strikingly similar to fellow Cracked.com contributor David Wong’s (Jason Pargin's) John Dies at the End, there’s a surprising amount of pathological drama at the book’s denouement that shows there’s a lot of brains behind all those dirty jokes.

An acid cultural satire that skewers what we would miss most about the online world.

Pub Date: March 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-250-04502-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

This is good Hemingway. It has some of the tenderness of A Farewell to Arms and some of its amazing power to make one feel inside the picture of a nation at war, of the people experiencing war shorn of its glamor, of the emotions that the effects of war — rather than war itself — arouse. But in style and tempo and impact, there is greater resemblance to The Sun Also Rises. Implicit in the characters and the story is the whole tragic lesson of Spain's Civil War, proving ground for today's holocaust, and carrying in its small compass, the contradictions, the human frailties, the heroism and idealism and shortcomings. In retrospect the thread of the story itself is slight. Three days, during which time a young American, a professor who has taken his Sabbatical year from the University of Montana to play his part in the struggle for Loyalist Spain and democracy. He is sent to a guerilla camp of partisans within the Fascist lines to blow up a strategic bridge. His is a complex problem in humanity, a group of undisciplined, unorganized natives, emotionally geared to go their own way, while he has a job that demands unreasoning, unwavering obedience. He falls in love with a lovely refugee girl, escaping the terrors of a fascist imprisonment, and their romance is sharply etched against a gruesome background. It is a searing book; Hemingway has done more to dramatize the Spanish War than any amount of abstract declamation. Yet he has done it through revealing the pettinesses, the indignities, the jealousies, the cruelties on both sides, never glorifying simply presenting starkly the belief in the principles for which these people fought a hopeless war, to give the rest of the world an interval to prepare. There is something of the implacable logic of Verdun in the telling. It's not a book for the thin-skinned; it has more than its fill of obscenities and the style is clipped and almost too elliptical for clarity at times. But it is a book that repays one for bleak moments of unpleasantness.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1940

ISBN: 0684803356

Page Count: 484

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1940

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