Monday, January 23, 2017

Winter Read

After enjoying the hell out of Matt Ruff's novel Lovecraft Country last summer, I just finished his earlier work Sewer, Gas, & Electric: The Public Works Trilogy from 1997.  (Which actually isn't a trilogy, technically).  If you only read one book by him I'd stick with the former, but S, G, & E has an undeniable energy and charm.

The obvious mile-marker is Pynchon, and maybe a bit of P.K. Dick, as a group of eccentrics, losers, radical environmentalists, and ultra-capitalists (including a robot version of Ayn Rand) race around (and under) New York City to undo a plot set in motion by J. Edgar Hoover and Walt Disney gone wrong.  Which is interesting, because the novel takes place in 2023.

That kind of manic energy carries the book a bit farther than possibly it deserves to go based on plot alone.  Also, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel about one of the main protagonists by the end (could be entirely my problem, but some of the characters feel a bit under-cooked).

Still, I enjoyed most of it.  And I'd be willing to bet that at least some of the DNA of Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City came from here.

The highlight for me was probably Donald J. Trump dying in an ill-fated attempt to launch himself to the moon.  Not too shabby.

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