Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: The Fridgularity

The Fridgularity
The Fridgularity by Mark A. Rayner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Apocalyptic Parody/Science Fiction Satire
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Folks who can find the funny, folks who will not be bothered by my warning (set apart in my thoughts and underlined for your convenience in places where formatting is allowed)
Book available: Scheduled to be published 11/21/2012

Disclosure: I received a free advanced reading copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: Chill out. It's only the technological singularity. 

Blake Given’s web-enabled fridge has pulled the plug on the Internet, turning its owner’s life – and the whole world – upside down.

Blake has modest ambitions for his life. He wants to have his job reclassified, so he can join the Creative Department of the advertising firm where he works. And he wants to go out with Daphne, one of the account execs at the same company. His fridge has other plans. All Blake knows is he’s at the center of the Internet’s disappearance, worldwide economic and religious chaos, and the possibility of a nuclear apocalypse — none of which is helping him with his career plans or love life. 

The Fridgularity is the story of a reluctant prophet, Internet addicts in withdrawal and a kitchen appliance with delusions of grandeur.

My Thoughts: The Fridgularity is hilarious! It all starts with Blake’s fridge, of course. “Blake had a web-enabled fridge... One of those ultra-cool, brushed stainless steel (sic) numbers that every yuppie in his neighborhood either owned or coveted like Old Testament perverts coveted their neighbor’s donkeys...” This was to enable, ultimately, easier reordering of groceries and such, but in reality, “On the plus side, the web-enabled fridge did allow Blake to check his Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter accounts while he ate Cheerios in his underwear.” Which is all anyone really wants.

People freak out, of course, when they realize the Internet is down. One of Blake’s more fundamentalist co-workers announces that it must mean The End, and Blake thinks some thing that, well...

Warning: If you are seriously offended by non-PC terms for the developmentally challenged and such terms being used in a derogatory manner toward other people will cause you upset and distress, then just avoid this book for your own blood pressure. It’s only a short scene, but for some people that’s enough.

But overall the reactions of people to the events around them are absolutely priceless and should amuse almost everyone. Pete Soan, a gamer, comes out of his basement and wanders in a bathrobe, eventually ending up reading poetry at a pub. And then, “ is inevitable at pre-apocalyptic poetry readings, someone threw the first punch.” And at the hospital, “There was the usual assortment of drug addicts, hypochondriacs, and mental cases too – and that was just the doctors.

Speaking of the various crazy people at the hospital, my favorite character was Dr. Max Tundra, a psych resident who is very interested in expanding his consciousness with various substances. This short conversation with Blake really shows why I loved this guy. Blake: “What, no hallucinogenic smoothie?” Max: “That’s only for breakfast, Blake, you know that.” I would love an entire book about Max, I think.

Blake has what he calls a superpower – that is, when the manure hits the impeller blade, he becomes preternaturally calm. In one of the many scenes in which he is under attack, he quips, “Okay, I’d like to make a motion to pitch this table over and hide behind it like frightened politicians, seconders?” The only time this deserts him is when he is confronted with Daphne, on whom he has a terrible crush.

Rayner has a real gift for vivid (and hilarious) description. Take Barry Onderson, for instance, one of Blake’s co-workers: “Head of Accounting, and the most pungent man in the firm, who smelled like he bathed in cabbage that had been half-digested by goats fed on a steady diet of garlic, onions,and pure evil.” That is … very stinky! Also, the description of Blake after a night of drinking was priceless: “drunken-slash-paranoid-slash-lovesick-slash-hungry-for-chicken-wings existential ennui.” Another I really like was, “About as hopeful as a Dadaist’s chance of finding the penguin.” And one more: “... the wind screeching like an eldritch proctology patient with a large-fingered doctor too cheap to buy lubricant.

Now, in a lot of ways this is a seriously silly book, don’t get me wrong. If you have any sort of sense of humor you will laugh yourself silly. However, this is also some (serious while being seriously silly) indictments of fundamentalist attitudes and dogmatic religion in general that I think, in our current world climate, are some ideas that people really need to take to heart concerning peace, divisiveness, and how to live with one another. I’m pretty impressed with how this author manages to get such a serious topic to cleverly worked into such a funny story.

So, at the end of the day, I really loved this book and I plan to seek out more works by this very talented author, who has a number of published works out there. I hope that this review will inspire a few of you to seek out this book when it is made available week after next, because it’s really very good! Thanks to the author for contacting me to read this – you have a new fan!

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