Sunday, January 31, 2016

Book Review: Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Hardcover, 384 pages

Published October 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books

He may not be a part of the bizarro movement but David Wong (a pen name for the editor of Cracked.com) is without a doubt a bizarro author. Known for his once serialized first novel John Dies At the End. Wong injected his dark bizarro horror tale with plenty of humor and ended up making a truly original novel. It was nice to see Wong break away from the series that made him popular. In this novel FVFS takes that same tongue and cheek approach to cyberpunk near future noir.

I had mixed feelings about the first David Wong Novel John Dies At the End. I loved lots of things about it when I read it but my writer's brain had a hard time dealing with the crazy all over the place structure and lack of editing. The version I read was compiled from a serialized blog, and it showed in lots of ways. For that reason I liked the movie a little better.

It was good enough with enough interesting ideas that a whim I checked out the new Wong novel at library. Futuristic violence and fancy suits is pretty gonzo but not nearly as Gonzo as his debut novel.

The story of Zoey Ashe and her cat Stink Machine, although Stink Machine is not in the novel as much I thought he should have been. Zoey is the daughter of a single mom and former stripper. She only met her father twice who is a wealthy mobster in the pop-up wanna-be vegas of the future called Tolba Ro$a. The story starts as Zoey suddenly has killers and hitmen chasing after her. Eventually she learns that her father left her his empire. This rags to riches techo thriller cyber-noir is not as funny as I expected after reading JDATE. From there we get super-humans, high tech battles and chases and much more.

Kinda bugged me Stink Machine didn't play a bigger role and kinda gets ignored in the second half. Don't get me wrong I laughed a few times and it was interesting enough to finish but I felt the first act was the strongest. That said the opening line of chapter 4 is one of the best laughs I got in the book. Also a speech given by the lead villain (p.264) at the end. Besides a few moments like that I was a little disappointed.

I have seen alot of comments online about the editing of this book. Perhaps this a sore subject for me as my novels have not received the most intense editing, and I for one don't have a great eye for grammar. I catch many of these typos when I read books, but that to me has nothing to do with a story. If the story is good I will over look nitpicks. Was I entertained? Sure I was and typos aside this was better edited to me in the sense that it felt more structured like a novel. To me the big issue with editors in relation to Wong's work is the structure. I felt John Dies at The End didn't flow as novel. It felt like the chapter were pulled out of different books, sometimes it felt like a different writer. It distracted me while reading. I felt that book needed another draft.

I think some will be disappointed by this book, I think it was a better novel than his debut, but I think it is not as fun a experience.

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