Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: Writing a summary of this story is tricky because it is so intricate, both in the story line for each individual character and how they all fit together. Overall, the premise is that a distant intelligent civilization wants to destroy planet earth because our music bothers them. The resolution to this agenda is shepherded by a bevy of interesting characters, including a couple of artificial intelligent manifestations in human form, a human in artificial intelligence form, a number of dogs, some in human and some in dog form, a bank employee with a drinking problem, intelligence agents and others.
Review: This is the best book I have read in years. If I could write like this, I would feel my life was complete. There are parts where I laughed hysterically, particularly at how the aliens improvise computing power on earth. The second chapter, which describes a man with a hangover who has to go to work and explain why he hasn’t completed his assignment, is brilliant. The writing, full of vivid metaphors and complexidly* woven sentences is reflective of the overall story. Each element of this book, characters (e.g. human versions of intelligent machines), subplots (e.g. the intergalactic analogy of the neighbour’s music bothering you), characteristics of the world (e.g. the personal communication devices are called Warthogs) has both a touch of irony while being credible and engagingly done. The narrative is fast paced and discontinuous but well crafted, with every minor detail in the opening explained by the final chapter. The reader can sit back and be taken on a trip, where a number of mysterious events and people are introduced and then slowly combined (maybe by an eccentric genius who appears to have ADD but is really just an eccentric genius) to make a coherent whole.
* yes, I’m pretty sure I made this word up. It means several forms of complex intersecting with each other in a chaotic way, definitely non-orthagonal, and the sort of thing that comes up at afternoon tea if there’s lots of creme and sugar.