Warning: Some Spoilers Below
The Gone-Away World is a book that I enjoyed thoroughly, yet
wasn't excited by. I'm not sure why - it had many of the attributes that
I usually love. A certain sense of surrealism, of humour, of a
meandering storyline, and threatening things just out of the edges of my
vision. Yet I finished it feeling satisfied, but not thrilled. What did
it need to take it to the next level? Or am I being too demanding? Is
this feeling of deep-down satisfaction, in itself, testament to what
This is a hard book to explain. It happens before and
after a new weapon is tested, and then deployed, one they thought would
eliminate objects without fallout. They were, of course, wrong. And the
fallout drastically reshapes the world. I'm trying not to give specifics
about this, as the descriptions of the Go Away bombs were horrifying,
and I don't want to spoil that experience.
Gonzo Lubitsch and his
best friend end up on the spot when the first Go Away bombs detonate,
and see their effects, and, with the rest of their squad, manage to
survive, and even to protect others. Until the Jorgmund Corporation
finds a substance that neutralizes the Gone Away fallout, and starts
building a pipe to disperse it, creating habitable zones. Then they work
for the corporation for a while, and later as independent contractors.
book starts with the contractors being hired to extinguish an
incredibly dangerous fire on the pipeline, but then jumps backwards to
Gonzo and friend as children, following them as children learning
martial arts, student radicals, and finally soldiers. About two or three chapters in, I
noticed that the narrator, Gonzo's best friend, had no name. I was
pretty sure that was significant, and even without knowing anything
about the nature of the rest of the book, my guess about what that meant
ended up being pretty much spot on.
I'm making this sound too serious, though. The Gone Away World
moves quickly, and is often very entertaining. There are ninjas. And
Evil Corporations. And pirates. And exploding sheep. There is also a bit
of romance, a lot of rough and tumble, and being shot in the chest.
There are also mimes.
enjoyed the examination of the Evil Company quite a lot, and how Evil
Companies become Evil Companies, and the very simple and horrifying
mechanism that this particular Evil Company uses to take monstrous ideas
and make them actions, without anyone ever taking responsibility. And
the final reveal is truly chilling.
I've made this sound like a
jumble, and it kind of is, but it's a thoroughly entertaining jumble,
and somehow, it all sort of works together. It's probably not for
everyone, though. If this laundry list of things that are in the book
appeal to you, you'll probably like it. If not, not.