Books 1/28/06

I quit reading Warp. Maybe it’s just the mood I’ve been in, but it was way too Kevin Smith for me. No insult to Kevin Smith, honestly, I just prefer my “people hanging around saying witty things” to have a little more to the story than just the witty sayings. Let’s just say I prefer Oscar Wilde to Kevin Smith and leave it at that. Warp fell more on the Smith side of things, some funny pop culture commentary, but nothing was happening, so I gave up. I’ll go back to it when I’m in a different mood. If I still have it from the library.

In its place I picked up Ambient by Jack Womack, a book I’ve read before. I was inspired to pick it up because of… something. Some TV show or movie that now I don’t recall. But I was glad I was prompted to do so because it’s been a while since I read it, and I really enjoyed it.

The world of Ambient and its sequels is a future that’s gone out of control. Businesses rule everything, violence and chaos reign, and the world waits for the second coming of Elvis. (Ok, that sounds hokey, but it fits right into the context of it all.) It’s a bit like if Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan were made into a series of novels, told from the perspective of a working stiff just trying to survive. The language is as inventive as that in A Clockwork Orange, and it’s impressive in its completeness and coherence. Once you get used to it it’s more streamlined and poetic than regular English. For example:

“She was a dream, printed and punched; the woman you brought home to mother, if mother was home. Mine was dead. To be so evernear while everfar set my feelings on hair trigger; were I a moth I would have freely sizzled in her light.”

“Dryco piefingered every major country, stuck both hands deep into America.”

And it’s all like that.

The story is told by Seamus, a body guard for one of the most powerful CEOs in the country. He’s convinced to kill the CEO’s father (by the CEO himself), and things go terribly awry for a number of reasons, and Seamus ends up finding out the truth behind all number of societal secrets. There’s a huge number of twists and turns I’m leaving out, but that’s the main plot. The Ambients of the title are a subculture of citizens, affected by radiation in the womb, who were born with a spectrum of physical deformities. Their parents died of the radiation poisoning, and so they have grouped together, gathering others to their cause, leading those who sympathise with them to mutilate their bodies in solidarity as outsiders. Seamus’ sister is an Ambient by choice (she has nails implanted into her head), and he ends up turning to them for help as the story goes on, and ultimately finding out the secret behind their creation.

Anyway, the book is really good, and I think I may have to read it’s sequel Elvissey again. People sent into an alternate universe where Elvis never died, with the intent to bring him back so that everyone will think he’s returned and is supporting one particular company? Brilliant.

Current total: 8
Just finished: Ambient by Jack Womack
Next Up: don’t know yet

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