- Clever technology jokes
- Smart plotting
- Weak characterisation of women
The sequel to Notes from the Internet Apocalypse:
Gladstone, the so-called ‘Internet Messiah,’ has not only failed to bring back the Web, but his search has landed him in a New York City psychiatric ward. The rest of the world isn’t doing so well either. The economy continues to suffer, further stoking the discontent of frenzied former Internet users still looking for a fix.
Opening with Gladstone in a psychiatric ward works well, allowing a new reader to find out everything they might have missed in the first novel. We find out about his previous life, his ex-wife, his friends, and his mission. But the novel really gets going when Gladstone is released, and meets up with his friend Tobey. Tobey photocopies and disseminates Gladstone’s diary until it goes ‘paper viral’ – stirring up followers who rebel against the governments NET Recovery Act.
This is a funny book, with an interesting commentary on the internet and the people who like to hang out there, from your average Instagram user to a member of 4Chan or Anonymous. The parts I liked were the feeling that the author is someone who understands the web, who understand the horror of a lost signal, or no data and amplifies it by making that loss last forever.
It’s exaggerated and ridiculous and funny and it’ll still make you reach for your smartphone to make sure you’ve not lost it.
I like that some time is spent on how the web works, though I could’ve done with a little more depth. Perhaps he knows his audience and didn’t want to dig too deep into the technical side, sticking to memes and jokes.
The weakest part of the novel were the female characters, roles relegated to either his ex-wife or women he picks up, or wants to hit on. There are parallels with the Spike Jonze film ‘Her’ — someone who doesn’t live in reality, hiding because real people are too hard to deal with.
Still, I’ll be on the lookout for the final part of the trilogy to see if we get our net back!
Please note that this review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy.