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Book: Jennifer Government

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I seem to have a habit when I read books of reading two books in a row that are very similar in their themes. Much like Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom, Jennifer Government takes the current trends of human development and projects them into the future. Instead of the technology-driven adhocracies of Down and Out, however, Max Barry's vision is a marketing-driven laissez faire extreme: individuals take on the surname of the company they work for, law is enforced by paid contract, and elementary schools are completely bought out by companies.

The story itself follows the line between amoral corporate ethical policy in a laissez faire world and capitalist anarchy, and as one would expect, Barry pushes the line as far as he can. There is a sad truth to some of the extremes Barry explores -- the idea of killing someone to increase demand for your product isn't too different from companies that dump toxins into groundwater or sell defective products.

My only real complaint with the book is that the characters are about as well developed as characters in a cheap thriller novel -- they serve to propel the story forward, and nothing more. Also, it relies on the remarkable coincidence that these unrelated characters suddenly become remarkably connected, so as to better serve the uniting of the plot threads.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on January 25, 2004 12:27 AM.

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