Mungo City by Rutiger Knox (Flanker), 308 pages, $17.95 paper. ISBN: 1841580252 Rating: NNN
is rutiger knox for real? mungo City, this Newfoundland author's first book, is a really weird futuristic science fiction novel that's an unlikely cross between Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and Naomi Klein's No Logo.Hector Bradshaw and his dumb-as-a-doorknob sidekick, Jimmy Doodle, live in a shiny plastic nightmare world where corporations sponsor entire cities, big brother monitors everything and "megaphone men" shame people into toeing the capitalist line. There's no room for dissent, because Mungo Cola, their city's sponsor, has already thought of every possible response to its pro-corp agenda.
The book takes off when Hector decides he can't cope with the grind any more. He drops out of college, and by extension all of society, despite the mayor's favourite motto: "Nobody gets a second chance. Nobody." He heads into The Woods, to which all dissenters are banished, to contemplate the true meaning of life. There he finally gets to read the subverting Corporate Declaration Of Disillusionment and begins to write a personal manifesto. His pal Jimmy tags along.
From there on in, the plot develops at a frenzied pace. Hector gets attacked by cannibals, meets a dishy blond whose daddy is rich, quickly abandons his ideals and heads back to Mungo City to live on her ranch.
Clueless Jimmy Doodle wanders back into corporate-controlled land and finds out that the "no second chance" dictum really does apply to him. He subsequently mopes around, gets yelled at by a megaphone man and ends up in the clutches of huckster mobsters.
This author is either nuts or a genius -- I haven't quite decided which -- but either way, Mungo City is definitely worth reading to experience tight writing and impeccable timing in a smaller-than-small-press release.
Mungo City is St. John's publisher Flanker's first book and a definite omen that there are interesting things to come.