book-reviews

Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits

by David Wong

Rating: ★★★★

John Dies at the End proved that Wong can write a funny, action-packed book that is not also shallow. That horror stories exist which are more than tired cliches or desperate incremental attempts to avoid them. Also, as a sidenote, that book showed that David Wong knew some actual fucking people. Futuristic Violence & Fancy Suits covers some of these points again, in case you weren't quite sure the first time around, but there's not much point banging on about it. So this is a blockbuster rather than a horror movie, big whup. The guy can write.

On to the meat. Futuristic Violence is an incredibly pointed novel, and like any good self-abuser, Wong has the sharp end directed at himself. Or, at least, his dominant fanbase, which is basically the same thing. Streaming through everything from the background sarcasm to the overlying plot is a heavy dose of criticism for the techno-libertarian visions of the future which large portions of the Bay Area are either dreaming of or working to implement. Wong tells us what happens when a bunch of billionaires finally do raise a city in the desert which can support a sci-fi future. It's an old lesson, but it still needs to be taught.

Wong writes a poor woman, and does so very convincingly. Zoey is of course a smart-alec, else Wong's Buffy-like dialogue would never work, but she is also given fault-lines that reflect a real perspective. She is not a bleeding heart, a damsel thrust into power. She calls for blood, she throws tantrums. She is, in fact, remarkably like Buffy, except she doesn't have the perfect body or secret superpowers (those are for the bad guys).

Oh, and there's a cat.