“Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits” by David Wong

Humor and Satire, Novels, Sci-fi

fvafs-cover-10012015“In the near future, somewhere in rural Colorado…

If Zoey Ashe had known she was being stalked by a man who intended to kill her and then slowly eat her bones, she would have worried more about that and less about getting her cat off the roof.” 

That is the first sentence of Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong. It pretty much sums up the vibe of the entire book. Zoey Ashe is a 22 year old barista living in a trailer park in Colorado. When her estranged billionaire father dies and leaves her his fortune, she has no idea what to think and even less of an idea of what to do when she ends up in the lawless city of Tabula Ra$a, a futuristic Las Vegas where there is no government, everything is legal, and everyone is trying to kill Zoey in order to steal her inheritance. While all this is happening, Zoey and her late father’s closest colleagues find themselves in the middle of a battle between good versus evil.

This book has a lot going on.

I think it probably would make a great movie. Tabula Ra$a is like an even more futuristic version of Dubai, filled with skyscrapers covered in video skins, drones that deliver tacos to wherever you’re standing, and bridges that you can swim across. The world that David Wong builds is really, really cool and a lot of the more action-packed scenes played out in my head like I was watching the movie Transformers if Transformers didn’t suck. That being said, I also felt like this book really dragged on and repeated itself. Thing happens. Thing leads to bigger, more dramatic thing with a twist. Thing is resolved. Slightly different but mostly the same thing repeats. There were several moments when I thought for sure I was almost done with the book and then when I checked where I was on my Kindle I was only at 30% or 50% done.

I would recommend this book for people who aren’t so much into science fiction but rather are into the whole superhero/Marvel Comics type thing. Sure, there’s some futuristic tech that basically drives the entire plot of the book, but the main focus is definitely on the idea of being a hero or a villain and what that means. It’s funny and crude and not the most reverent story, and Zoey’s character reads a little more like a 15 year old boy than a 22 year old girl, but all in all it was pretty solid. It might have felt like a long read, but it definitely wasn’t a boring one.

Also, I feel like I should mention that Zoey’s cat is named Stench Machine.

Rating: 3/5

 

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“Dark Matter” by David Crouch

Sci-fi, Thriller

This book seriously messed with my head. Maybe it’s just been a little too long since I took dark-mattera science class, but if you ask the people on Amazon.com, it messed with their heads too, so I know it’s not just me.

“Dark Matter” tells the story of Jason, once aspiring physicist, current mediocre physics professor, living with his family in Chicago. I have no idea why but I imagined him as Kiefer Sutherland. We’ll roll with it. Anyway, Jason is more or less satisfied with his average life. He always imagines what it would have been like if he put his career before his family, but in general is happy with where he ended up. Until he gets kidnapped and shoved in a box and wakes up in a world where he did put his career first and his entire life has changed.

Jason wakes up in a world that is the same, yet not his own, with people he has never met. His wife is not his wife, his son was never born, and everything is familiar yet vastly different. He is determined to get back to the world that he knew, where his wife is his wife and his son exists, yet has no idea how to get there or what has happened to him. He spends the rest of the book trying to get back to them, encountering road blocks at every turn. It’s difficult to give an accurate description without giving the entire plot away, but there’s the gist of it.

“Dark Matter” was a quick read. While some of the sciencey parts required a couple of re-reads before I really figured it out, I got through the whole thing in one sitting. Crouch creates a tale that sucks you in far enough that you need to know what happens, and spend the whole book trying to figure it out. It was filled with twists I didn’t see coming, and I couldn’t put it down. If you’re a fan of science fiction and thrillers, this is definitely the book for you.

5/5