REVIEW: Waterstone's SF & Horror

Michael Waterstone's (Michael Rowley)
June / July 2003

It's sometime in the near future and the USA is leading the marketplace. It's so popular other countries have joined up and now it's the United States Federated Economic Bloc - a brave new world where commerce and consumerism have risen to the top of the food chain and all other organisations are barely hanging on, including the Government.

So here we are, the NRA is a multi-national, loyalty card companies are controlling the fate of the freshly Americanised world and Jennifer has just about reached her limit. She's tough, knows every dodge and sneak marketing ploy in the book, she's a Government Agent, she's Jennifer Government.

Unfortunately for Jennifer a corporate climber called John Nike, Vice-President of Guerilla Marketing for a regional Nike office, comes up with an insidious and deadly plan to boost sales of Nike's latest sneakers and all hell breaks loose. Soon we've got Billy NRA running around involved in hired killings, stockbroker Buy Mitsui considering suicide and poor old Hack Nike trying to keep his life together as he gets sucked into the latest marketing campaign from his employers.

What can I say? Max Barry has breezed onto the fiction scene with a novel that is as wantonly satirical as it is drop dead serious.

Combining the best aspects of the near future thriller with our worst fears about big business, Jennifer Government is a new breed of socially aware thriller with all the action, humour and adventure you could ever hope for, and I for one am looking forward to more.