Jennifer Government - Max Barry

This is the most recent of the many books I've read recently about a future world run (or overrun) by corporations. Midway through the book, one character, while reading Space Merchants, reflects that most older books about the future always pictured Big Government running the show—and he laughs at how silly an idea that was. It seems that current authors are more worried that the government will be too weak. There's a quote on the cover: "Catch-22 by way of The Matrix," but it really has more in common with "Fight Club" than "The Matrix."

The story itself is a convoluted comedy of errors. Nike hires a mid-level nobody to kill some customers to build street cred. Panicked, he goes to the police for help—and they subcontract the job from him. Before all is resolved, a host of other characters enter the picture (including the Jennifer Government, the title figure) and their lives intersect in unexpected ways.
Several of the major characters are a little one-sided; the people who don't see anything wrong with what corporations are doing to the world and are happy to be told what to buy, the corporate guy who won't stop at anything to maximize profits, etc. But the concept was clever, and the writing was witty enough to keep me reading.

Fed to jonathan's brain | November 25, 2003