those insisting on linear plots and identifiable protagonists should avoid Everyone In Silico, but the cyber-literate will recognize Munroe's format from surfing his linked Web pages.Set 35 years in the future in a post-globalized Vancouver, Everyone In Silico unfolds as a series of seemingly tangential vignettes that only gel during the last 50 pages.
With nods to William Gibson, Anthony Burgess and William Burroughs, Munroe packs a lot of information into a sentence. Full of sly pop-culture references and blatant product placement (read how the author invoiced his unknowing sponsors for his plugs on his Web site, www.nomediakings.org), Everyone In Silico portrays a J.G. Ballardian near-future that is not the paradise promised by advertising.
Several clichéd themes eventually emerge: eco-terrorism, genetic modification, corporate bookstore takeovers, mindless consumerism. You just know Bill Gates is the evil genius behind them all. Imagine Naomi Klein penning speculative fiction and you're close. Beautifully written, often baffling, at times Munroe's book is downright funny, especially the image of the "undead" forced to work out in gyms for eternity.
Munroe launches his book at Rancho Relaxo on Saturday (May 4). See Readings, this page.
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EVERYONE IN SILICO by Jim Munroe (No Media Kings), 241 pages, $20 paper. Rating: NNN