“Yes, they still make TV shows somewhere. The rest of the country is still pretty shiny, from what I hear. Apparently the West Coast is more or less the same. Sunshine. Palm trees. Beautiful women in drop-top convertibles. Singing surfers. Moral rot. The whole enchilada, in the shape of California.”
Adam Sternbergh, Shovel Ready
If I’ve not been clear enough, and I’m never sure I am, another comparison that’s probably worthwhile is to the last few William Gibson books — because the kind of stuff Sternbergh is doing (near future, semi-dystopian, deadpan cool, genre conventions; even and especially the virtual-reality layer of plotting and action) comes out of, has membership in, the world Gibson’s created. Shovel Ready is much, much tighter than (especially) any of the Blue Ant books: surface is perfect, plot never bogs down, manages its dumps of exposition gracefully, which is one of Gibson’s great failings. But Gibson’s flaws, especially in terms of exposition, put across the author’s sense of enthusiasm, his excitement at how strange things (increasingly actual contemporary things, too) really are: they’re glitches. By being glitch-free, Shovel Ready is better entertainment, probably, but entirely, completely low-cal.
February 09, 2014, 9:30am Comments