MaxBarry.com
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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Wed 22
Nov
2006

Zap zap bang bang

Jennifer Government By now four thousand people have told me about the shooting at the Playstation 3 launch. Well, all right, it wasn’t four thousand. It was sixteen. Fifteen, if you don’t count the guy who thought it was over an XBox. (I love it when people remember everything about a marketing promotion except the product. Just knowing that some marketing executive signed off on a million-dollar campaign only to boost his competition gives me a warm feeling inside.)

Not that I’m saying Sony deliberately engineered a stock shortage and then hired an assassin to shoot someone in the stampede in order to build up the hype. That would be unspeakably immoral. To rip off the opening of Jennifer Government so blatantly, I mean.

I’m thinking about creating a special section on this site: “Stuff that happened in real life that’s kind of like one of Max’s books.” That way I won’t feel the need to salute each individual event: I can just add it to the list. Then on cold, quiet nights when I’m feeling insecure, I can browse that list and feel good about myself again. The best part is there need never be a list of “Things that were predicted in one of Max’s books and, boy, was he off-base.” Those things just haven’t come true yet.

Of course, it’s not that hard to predict advances in marketing. You just imagine what you’d do if you wanted to sell something and had absolutely no morals, self-respect, or dignity. Wait six months, and bing! There it is.

Comments

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Robert (#2152)

Location: Berlin, Germany
Posted: 2894 days ago

Nice one, I am looking forward to the moment, when Microsoft (or just another global player)is revealed as a "COMPANY".

Phill Sacre (#1822)

Location: London, UK
Quote: "Computers are like air conditioners. Both stop working, if you open windows."
Posted: 2894 days ago

Max, you should get into the fortune-telling business... you'd make a, um... fortune!

Like they said in the opening credits of one Futurama episode: "You can't prove it won't happen"

Machine Man subscriber Marleen (#2741)

Location: Berlin, Germany
Quote: "I want more expensive shoes in one place than I've ever seen in my whole life."
Posted: 2894 days ago

Haha. There's some things you don't WANT to be famous or remembered for, though. Like the guy who wrote about (predicted?) the Titanic-like ship crashing into an iceberg and sinking. Or the guy who wrote about (predicted?) terrorist attacks on U.S. buildings by airplanes.

Think about it, Max, when you write your next novel. Think about it. Or maybe write about world peace.

Machine Man subscriber Danni Brennand (#357)

Location: England
Quote: "Eagerly awaiting the European Tour."
Posted: 2894 days ago

You definitely need to have that category. There's already a few things that could go into it. It's probably a good thing you didn't write about assassinating some world leaders in your books though- imagine what would happen then.

Machine Man subscriber Silke (#968)

Location: Hamburg, Germany
Quote: ""Not only do I not know the answer - I don't even know what the question is..." [Metallica]"
Posted: 2894 days ago

lol... that category makes me think of how my collegue and I keep searching for proof of why our company is probably not what it seems to be but more like in "Company"... and we are getting very close to finding out I think... if we ever do I'll let you know :-)

Yenzo (#829)

Location: Secret underwater pyramid base in the Pacific
Quote: "In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe (Carl Sagan)"
Posted: 2894 days ago

Just a minute ago I found something related on the web that you might enjoy:

http://www.frederiksamuel.com/blog/images/myflags.swf

Apart from that: Don't you think the PS3 will go down in marketing history anyway? I can't remember any product that was so eagerly awaited by a crowd that apparently doesn't know the first thing about the console. Because if they did, why would they still be anticipating it?

Sony broke one hell of a lot of promises on the PS3 (downward compatibility, games graphics shown in screenshots, number of USB ports,...) and they have shown an arrogance toward the customer that's comparable to the whole StarForce mumbo-jumbo (like telling the Japanese they should work harder to be able to pay for the console; or like trying to outlaw second-hand sale of PS3 games). How much more are people gonna take?

Game-wise, I can understand the people who bought a PS2 additionally to their Xbox or GameCube. If they got the money, why not?. But how could anyone decide to buy a PS3 if they can buy BOTH an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii for the same money?

Apart from insanity, there's only one answer to that question: marketing.

What do you guys think? Am I totally wrong about that?

Keely (#1602)

Location: easy-peasy-24.livejournal.com of course!
Quote: "I always wanted to see the lights of Broadway... but then you get there and they're really kind of annoying."
Posted: 2894 days ago

This also marks one of the few times that a criminal has ever been described at the scene of the crime as white.

I mean, white people always do it.

But people always describe the guys as black.

And then most of the time they end up white anyway.

Jeffrey (#2286)

Location: Right here
Quote: "Mathematics is a powerful language. Just look at how mathematicians destroyed the housing market."
Posted: 2894 days ago

I talked to my anthropology prof about this. I recently pushed your books on him like a smack peddler and we both noticed the similarities of the PS3 incident.

Christian (#2192)

Location: Calgary, Canada
Quote: "If being a nerd was baseball, I'd be starting quarterback!"
Posted: 2894 days ago

It's funny because when I heard about this with my girlfriend, we both thought the exact same thing: Jennifer Government. And then I thought about how cool it was that I convinced my girlfriend to read your books, and I smiled with a sort of satisfaction.

I am, of course, in this implying that normal girls wouldn't read your writing and that it is in fact reserved for the same sort that would read science fiction or comic books.

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @: http://www.shabooty.com"
Posted: 2894 days ago

i bet max predicted flava flav was gonna have another baby too...

Nick (#1991)

Location: Vietnam
Posted: 2893 days ago

hey max & max fans, fyi video game blog joystiq blogged this blog:

http://www.joystiq.com/2006/11/22/ps3-violence-mirrors-novel-storyline/

some (mostly) nice words in the comments about your books too

PS i loved company - it was worth ordering from amazon, shipping to australia, and bringing back to vietnam!

Carly (#2091)

Posted: 2893 days ago

Max, you should TOTALLY make that "Things I've Predicted" or "Things that have been stolen from my books" section.

I think I'd rate this shooting accident (on a 1-5 basis, 1 being the most interesting) as a 2. (#1 is the knock-off of your "Fukk" idea. That stuff tastes like shit, by the way.)

Kommander Kyle (#2470)

Location: Covington, Louisiana, US
Quote: ""Revenge is a dish best served cold...""
Posted: 2893 days ago

(background)- on the way to school, my dad and i usually listen to one of those morning talk-radio programs.

I remember that on the day that the PS3 came out, they were talking about it and i just thought nothing of it. but then they mentioned that there had been a shooting in one of the lines, no joke. the first thing that came to mind was the book (of course)! but i havn't heard about that incident since, so i'm not sure if it was true or not. maybe someone who had read the JenniferGovernment just had too much time on their hands and felt like spreading an interesting rumor for all of his fellow Max Barry fans.

but i agree, you should definately make that section. the number of coincidences can only increase!

austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 2892 days ago

Wow. What a huge impact you've had on the world Max.

Kit (#850)

Location: UK
Posted: 2888 days ago

"Wow. What a huge impact you've had on the world Max."

I hope that's sarcasm? I hope Sony didn't read Jennifer Government and send a guy out on the basis that killing people over their product was a good marketing strategy.

On the other hand, it wouldn't be the craziest thing in the world... I'm going to shoot a movie now, it might be about a certain product... *wink*

Dan (#579)

Location: Shanghai, China
Quote: ""Scio me nihil scire.""
Posted: 2887 days ago

Max, if you see this, please get back to me about why you didn't try to see fukk to coke again?

David L (#2403)

Location: New Jersey
Quote: "I'm a nasty piece of work, chief. Ask anybody. - John Constantine"
Posted: 2886 days ago

My dad (who is also a fan of your work) immediately thought the same thing.

Max, I'm worried. I think you are turning into George Orwell.

Lancer Kind (#1547)

Location: Redmond WA
Quote: "Be nice to the man with the gun."
Posted: 2885 days ago

Hey Max, Even PlayStation 3 is disgusted with what has happened. Here is a link to a column it wrote about the event:
http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/BigArt?oid=109901

<a href="http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/BigArt?oid=109901"> Playstation column</a>


Michael Ricksand (#2212)

Location: Terra
Quote: "You do not have a right to be stupid."
Posted: 2880 days ago

Nice one, Mr Barry. NICE ONE. Don't you think we can see what you're trying to do? They paid you a lot for writing this book, didn't they? Just so everyone would think "Wow, this could be like that book, Jennifer Government." And then, we all know what he'll sound like. The big Kahuna at Sony, that is. "Hired to kill people to promote the Playstation 3? Don't be ridiculous. I can see you've read too much Max Barry. That's FICTION, not reality." In other words: It is impossible for it to happen, because someone wrote about it in a novel.

The theory will lose all chance of being taken seriously, because anyone who tries to promote said theory will be met with "I can see you're confusing reality and fiction, boy" or "A company wouldn't do that for real."

Michael Ricksand (#2212)

Location: Terra
Quote: "You do not have a right to be stupid."
Posted: 2880 days ago

In case someone didn't get it: Sony hired assassins to kill people buying a PS3, but to make this theory look ridiculous to anyone suspecting the truth they wanted to be able to say "That only happens in books." Thus, they hired Mr Barry to write a book about it, so they would be able to say "That sort of things happens in Jennifer Government, but that's pure science-fiction."

Daniel (#2817)

Location: Sydney
Quote: "I don't know much about art."
Posted: 2879 days ago

From today's Sydney Morning Herald...

"THE Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs sparked Australia's biggest biological terror scare last year when they distorted test results to claim white powder sent to the Indonesian embassy was a biological agent.

Documents from ACT Pathology and the federal police, obtained under freedom of information laws, show the microbiologist who examined the powder on June 1 last year and the federal police never called it a "biological agent", and described it as a commonly occurring bacteria.

The documents also reveal that some days after testing began, the powder was shown to be flour."

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/scary-powder-was-just-flour/2006/12/06/1165081020226.html



CameoAppearance (#2439)

Location: Vancouver, BC
Quote: "Please tell me I'm not related to these people."
Posted: 2833 days ago

There's a hole in your theory, Mr Ricksand...

Jennifer Government was published way back in 2003. While I'm sure Sony was working on the PS3 before its unveiling, the public wasn't aware of its existence until mid-2005, and the revelation of its extremely high price was even more recent than that.

This doesn't make it -completely- impossible that Max was paid by Sony to write that into Jennifer Government (although said theory is already highly illogical, given both Max's stance on corporate meddling and the tone of the book itself), but it certainly makes it a lot less likely.

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