REVIEW: San Diego Union-Tribune

Jim Hopper
12th January, 2003

There's no conclusive proof that globalized mega-corporations are necessarily or intentionally either callous or evil. Opinions differ on this, as witness recent protests at the World Trade Organization mettings. Max Barry builds a set of extrapolations in "Jennifer Government" that swings pretty far toward the protestors' position.

Jennifer is not the name of the government. Rather, people's surnames reflect who employes them -- or, for kids, who's schooling them.

When Hack Nike is approached by John Nike and John Nike to help them with a little marketing scheme, how's he, or for that matter, Buy Mitsui, to know that their actions will precipitate the death of little Hayley McDonald's?

Hack and Buy work in the Australian Territories of the USA. After Hayley's death, Jennifer Government has to approach the bereaved parents to help with funding for the investigation. Does the evidence point toward the police (also privatized, with "Every Breath You Take" as their corporate theme song), or towards Billy NRA?

It's a pretty bleak world when killing 10 customers is a marketing tool for selling shoes at $2500 a pair, or when a trade dispute and criminal trial enable a marketing VP to -- well, that'd be telling.

And tell you Max Barry will, in this darkly hilarious cautionary tale. If you haven't been captured by the time you've read Hayley McDonald's talk, "Why I Love America," then you're taking things just a swoosh too seriously.