Tag Archives: satire

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex: I admit it: I judged this book by its cover. With a title like that, how could I not pick it up? And I was not disappointed. A girl named Gratuity and a cat named Pig meet an alien named J.Lo and journey across America to find Gratuity’s mother. It’s a pretty ridiculous story all around. The illustrations are fantastic and the whole thing is really funny. It’s also a not-so-subtle allusion to the story of the Native Americans, a rare work of effective satire that loses neither its humor nor its message. Good stuff.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem

The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem: Ijon Tichy is attempting to attend a conference of futurists when his hotel is attacked by terrorists with mind-altering gas. Through a series of absurd events, Tichy finds himself resurrected several decades in the future, when everyone relies on chemical supplements to provide them with all knowledge and emotion, perception-altering drugs that hide a distressing reality. This all sounds terribly dystopian and horrifying, and in some ways it is, but it is also pretty hilarious satire. It’s one of those sorts of books where you just have to go with it, and pay special attention to the made-up words and random asides, many of which are the funniest parts of the book. I hadn’t expected to so enjoy this book – I’d sort of expected it to be a bit of a slog, a book about an idea only tenuously strung together with plot – but this was quite a romp. The humor is dark, to be sure, but still quite entertaining.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

America: The Book by Jon Stewart

America (The Book) by Jon Stewart and the writers of the Daily Show: A satirical take on your standard US history textbook. It’s a bit dated, having been published eight years when we were in the thick of the Bush administration, but there are still plenty of funny bits. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the founding of America. Some of the modern references fell a little flat, but I’m not really big on political humor in the first place. If you are, then you will almost undoubtedly get a kick out of this.

Jennifer Government by Max Barry

Jennifer Government by Max Barry: In a world where capitalism is so prized that you take your employer as your last name, Hack Nike accidentally finds himself part of a marketing scheme to sell sneakers by killing customers. I suppose one could see this as a cautionary tale against over-privatization (the NRA is basically a bunch of guns for hire, schools are run by toy companies where new Barbies are part of the curriculum, etc.), but I was too amused by the absurdity of it all to take it too seriously. Jennifer Government is, as her name suggests, a government agent attempting to catch the people behind the sneaker shootings. At the same time, Hack’s somewhat unstable girlfriend Violet attempts to make a fortune selling a nasty new computer virus, stockbroker Buy Mitsui makes a random act of kindness that drives him to ponder suicide, and Billy Bechtel attempts to go on a skiing holiday and somehow ends up as a hired assassin. The whole thing is positively silly, but a lot of fun nonetheless. If you like satire in the vein of Catch-22, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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