Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, by David Wong

Walking through the library, I happened to glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, a book with a picture of a cat flying through the air, surrounded by high tech-looking weaponry.  I was intrigued.  I strode over and turned to the back cover, where I was greeted by a robotic hand in disrepair holding up its middle finger.  This was something strange, bizzarre, and unfamiliar.  I had to try it.

I can honestly say I have never read a bok like this one before.  It follows a girl named Zoey, who lives in poverty with her mother, and her cat.  When people begin trying to kill her she soon discovers that her uber-rich father has passed away, and she must come claim his place at the head of his business.  She leaves for the city of Tabula Rasa, a desert oasis ruled by the upper class, devoid of rules, regulations, and limitations.  Soon she discovers that her fathers killer, a cybernetically enhanced frat boy named Molech is still at large, and now is gunning for her.

To answer the question that is undoubtedly floating through your head right now. this novel is just as — if not more — bizarre than it sounds.  The dialogue and situations presented in the novel all smack of a sort of juvenile comedy, that works in brilliant contrast to the often extremely grisly conflicts that ensue.  This does contribute to some tonal inconsistency however.  Sometimes the horrifying and humorous are brought together in the perfect literary marriage.  Sometimes Wong cracks a potty joke after a character has died and the humor falls flat.  The book is a mixed bag in that respect.

Extremely strong though not very prevalent is Wong’s vision of the future.  A place where the poor are left to rot in trailer parks while the rich languish in exotic cities where every desire can be realized with the motion of a finger.  Where the average citizen is too captivated by social media to do anything else.  A slave to their status updates and viewers, people in this story put themselves in harms way multiple time, and often with disasterous results.

There is no instagram, snapchat, or even facebook in this world.  There is only “blink”, a platform that is made up of livefeeds broadcast from peoples camera equiped glasses.  This is a major theme throughout the story.  Often times, chapters will go by with the only important events happening being seen via blink feed.

I kid you not, I saw this ad right as I was typing this review.

Where “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” runs into trouble is its aversion of focus on these things, and a near refusal to adress the idea of a media saturated society.  The world of decadence, poverty, and technologically induced slavery is not explored as a dystopian one, but rather, as a setting in which a dystopian story could take place, but doesn’t.

If you are just looking for a quick gripping, slightly funny action novel, then pick this one up.  However, if you search for something deeper, you’ll likely come up short as far as this novel is concerned.

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