❴PDF / Epub❵ ☁ The Gone-Away World Author Nick Harkaway – Papercuts.co

About The Neon Fuzz A Note On The Book Jacket From Designer Jason Booher When You Read Harkaway S Novel, A Gigantic Sense Of Weirdness And Cool And Doom Surround The Characters To Capture All That Plus The Absurd Humor That Pervades This Amazing Book, The Jacket Obviously Had To Be Something Special So The Otherworldliness That Perhaps Only Neon Fuzz Can Bring Hopes To Evoke These Feelings And Add To The Strength Of And Interplay Between The Words In The Title And Author S Name A Wildly Entertaining Debut Novel, Introducing A Bold New Voice That Combines Antic Humor With A Stunning Futuristic Vision To Give Us An Electrifyingly Original Tale Of Love, Friendship And The ApocalypseTherecouldn T Be A Fire Along The Jorgmund Pipe It Was The Last Thing The World Needed But There It Was, Burning Bright On National Television The Pipe Was What Kept The Livable Zone Safe From The Bandits, Monsters And Nightmares The Go Away War Had Left In Its Wake The Fire Was A Very Big Problem Enter Gonzo Lubitsch And His Friends, The Haulage HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company, A Team Of Master Troubleshooters Who Roll Into Action When Things Get Particularly Hot They Helped Build The Pipe Now They Have To Preserve It And Save Humanity Yet Again But This Job Is Not All It Seems It Will Touch Closely On Gonzo S Life, And That Of His Best Friend, Than Either Of Them Can Imagine And It Will Decide The Fate Of The Gone Away WorldEqual Parts Raucous Adventure, Comic Odyssey, Geek Nirvana And Ultracool Epic,The Gone Away World Is A Story Of Among Other Things Pirates, War, Mimes, Greed And Ninjas But It Is Also The Story Of A World, Not Unlike Our Own, In Desperate Need Of Heroes However Unlikely They May Seem

10 thoughts on “The Gone-Away World

  1. says:

    One of the most bizarre and uncomfortable things in the world being asked to rate one s own book I m giving it five stars out of love I accept that you might differ

  2. says:

    DAG Nick Harkaway is well into his third pint and his eleventh story when he looks around and realizes he s got half the bar hanging on his every word, and THAT s when he leans back a little, stretches his legs, and gives you a three page backstory on a minor idiot whose chief role in the book is getting punched in the head Because, and this is a rule, so pay attention punching an idiot in the head is funny, not to mention satisfying, but the road that an idiot travels on his way to getting punched is Pure Comic Gold.If The Gone Away World were merely funny, it would be worth reading But, oh, it s not There is good stuff here about humanity, identity, and friendship Jiminy Cricket is invoked And there s a vividly imagined world, two, really, a Before and an After There are characters that will put you in mind of Heinlein, Terry Pratchett, and various good comic books.I read this book so hard that my arm cramped up, and it is still sore.

  3. says:

    Kurt Vonnegut Jr T Coraghessan Boyle Joseph Heller maybe Tom Robbins and now it appears that Nick Harkaway can be added to the list of humanistic, cynical, insanely creative authors who truck in wild wooly tales that blur the boundaries between reality fantasy and are filled with enormous digressions, bizarre conundrums, slippery plot twists, and the kind of dark irony that feels like a surprise smack to the head.the following review contains the occasional spoiler, sorryThe Gone Away World is about a terrible war that destroys most of the world It is about the weapons used in the war and that changed the world it is about the psychosis behind what caused the war It has two heroes a brave thoughtless alpha type and his quiet thoughtful beta best friend and their past lives a Lot of their past lives , growing up going to school joining the military falling in love It is about the nature of friendship It is about identity It is about conformism corporatization and the relationship between those two things It has ninjas mimes dreams made real It has an absolutely stunning twist that comes about two thirds of the way through the book, the kind of wonderfully mind boggling twist that forces the reader to re evaluate everything that has come before It is a book that often flirts with brilliance when it is not too busy being remarkably tangential and self indulgent.The book is not for everyone Well, what book is If you are familiar with the authors I mentioned above, then you will be familiar with its particular sort of tone The voice is jokey Aggressively loopy and lighthearted, even during brutal scenes It can be somewhat hard to take over an extended period of time and this is a long book And then there are the digressions I m a digressive person I think it is a part of my charm oh and I got lots of that but I also know that it is something that confounds and sometimes annoys people Me and my tangents and my little jokes I see that glassy look in the eye that some people get when I go off and into the blue Most people just don t even get what I m talking about, they just wait til I m finished and then get back to what we were talking about because who has the time to figure out all of my references One night during a council meeting break I was talking to a fellow council member about Doctor Who and how much we love that show When I reconvened the meeting there was a motion to eliminate some funding for a program deemed redundant I responded by saying Exterminate Exterminate in a robotic voice Clearly this was a tribute to Doctor Who s robotic villains the Daleks as well as a subtle critique of the council s bloodthirsty need to eliminate funding But everyone had that glassy look in their eyes as I tried to explain, including horribly that one council member who was a fellow Doctor Who fan Sigh.But back to the book The Gone Away World not for everyone Readers who are automatically attracted to the plot synopsis futuristic society, futuristic war, futuristic weapons dreams made real, bizarre monsters, ninjas may find themselves trapped in a book that is distinctly not a genre novel and probably should not be considered as straight up science fiction or fantasy So, genre readers, beware You may not find what you are looking for and you may end up being frustrated, bored, and wishing you had embarked on a different journey Trust me, I ve seen the aggravated reviews So consider yourself warned This is not a scifi novel filled with robots, speculative science, etc And then of course, to potentially frustrate you further, there are the digressions There have been quite a few people in my life who have named me Best Friend There was Marc in South Bend hey, he was also my first love There was John and Michelle in Virginia Beach fortunately there was no rivalry because we were all best friends together There s Marcy in Orange County we shared a love of acerbic put downs arguing of course our inherently queer nature There was J P and Ian in San Diego unfortunately in this case there was a rivalry and the two detested each other which was awkward because we all lived together in one tiny apartment Sorta funny to contemplate because J P is rather flaming while Ian is resolutely straight Were they competing for my bisexual soul Since then there s Brian, Steve, Scott, Jill, and Graham Is there a common thread to all these close friends I suppose one thread may be that those friends were both similar to me yet completely different We complemented each other in important ways I was assertive to John s inwardness, calm to Marcy s anger, an anchor to J P s flights of fancy, John Waters to Ian s Barry Levinson hello, Balti , a balance to Steve s chaos, and now a terminal nerd to Graham s timeless cool guy Oh, Graham Will Rachel read this review and report back I sure hope not Skip this review, Rachel.But back to the book I m reminded that one of the things that really appealed to me was its contemplation of friendship This is a truly sweet natured novel and its thoughts on the nature of best friends are likewise sweet I don t know if Harkaway is exactly saying that best pals complement each other in a yin yang way and the crazy twist of the book actually rather undercuts that idea But it is a fetching concept and I really responded to it on a personal level I also responded to its ongoing take on How to Avoid Being a Part of the Machine I was a part of the Machine I worked for AIG I fooled myself into thinking that it didn t really matter due to the fact that I also lived in a really counterculture world and had crazy anarchist thoughts and demonstrated and went to jail for my beliefs and was a queer radical and etc etc etc I fooled myself into thinking that as long as I thought differently from my AIG cohorts that I wasn t really like them, not at all, no way But that was nonsense I may have thought differently but I was still a cog in the machine Actions are what count and my actions were those of a cog Happily, I grew up and got the fuck out of Dodge, goodbye AIG, fuck you corporate culture.The Gone Away World s contempt for conformist thought and corporate culture is beyond withering The whole novel acts as a ferocious assault on both That ferocity and the constancy of Harkaway s critiques filtered through the novel s resolutely cheery, goofy absurdism, so don t think this is some kind of angry political tract are both a strength and a weakness The weakness Harkaway has picked such an exceedingly easy target that at times it gets a bit much A bit drop out of society hippy dippy Fuck The Man etc A bit eye rolling Or maybe I just have a knee jerk reaction to easy targets But it is also a real strength Harkaway is super clever and his frontal assault on conformism goes in many surprising and thought provoking directions At one point the terrible changes that can happen when being exposed to Gone Away weapons are paralleled to the gradual change a cog in the machine can go through as they slowly lose their individuality and empathy to the bottom line and to being safe in the company of like minded people People can turn into monsters in different kinds of ways, in books and out of them I really feel that idea Also, ninjas are inherently conformist At some level, I always knew that Stupid conformist ninjas, ugh, they re the worst Anyway, fun book It s a head trip and an adventure and it also hates conformism, so what s not to like It is also hella digressive but hey I m not the sort who really minds that.Plus a plush pink cover that is really cool and original and velvety to the touch Not sure the texture of the cover has anything to do with the novel but maybe I m missing something I really like the feeling of that cover It would be sorta neat to have a bed cover made of that material Except not pink And maybe not for my bed I m not sure if that would make my cat very happy as it s not a very cat friendly texture But what is a cat friendly texture I suppose something that feels like a cat post Ah, cats I love cats I wonder what my cat is doing now Digsy, where are you I love Digsy Such a sweet cat.

  4. says:

    It is probably good for both of us that GR reviews have a character limit For me, so there is a limit on my copyright violations For you, so you won t have to read every line that I found amazing, remarkable, thoughtful, or funny It took me two reads to compile my thoughts on The Gone Away World, and I m not sure we re done with each other yet It s one of those kinds of books that offers each time through Not the lull of a comforting, familiar read, but the folds of the ah ha kind of plotting, the thoughtful oh yes of appreciation, and the generating of fanciful ideas Harkaway s ability with word choice, not quite absurdist, but at the far limits of possibility, knocks me out It s silly and irreverent It will be a useful study aid in my newly chosen specialist field of getting the fuck out of here olgy p.229 Then, just when it reaches the limits, the reader narrator realizes the situation is serious and the irony is washed away, resulting in a powerful emotional exposure and, sometimes, a sad transition to disaster For instance, there s an ongoing bit about the narrator s girlfriend in college who was physically stimulated by their rebellion It was funny we all but wear out the oppressive manacles of the state oppressor and it s getting to the point where we ll have to pinch some new ones right until it s brought back home in a way that illuminates the self delusion in this case, with real oppression This place does not feel like my country It feels like countries I have read about where things are very bad It feels, in fact, like exactly the kind of thing we were protesting against, but we thought it was elsewhere It is not heartening to find that it has come to us p.105 Harkaway s metaphors come through in the strangest places, but are all the delightful for the oddity There s a prolonged hot spell and Gonzo s father s bees are keeping the hive cool by fanning their wings and laboriously flying in water droplets Air conditioning by slave labour, if you believe that a hive is run by an autocrat, but Old Man Lubitsch has long ago explained that the Queen is an asset, cherished and nurtured but not obeyed, and that the hives are a functioning biological machine He cannot decide if they represent an eerie social harmony or a grim nightmare of mechanistic subservience to a purposeless and endlessly repeating pattern p.54.Or thoughts on fighting an endless war We were, in other words, screwed But we were on top of the situation We knew we were screwed, and we had chosen the manner of our screwedness We understood it and to that extent we controlled it It was like the Nuclear Threat while it was going on, we didn t have to think about any other kinds of screwed we might be p.257 He does this over and over again, and then when you feel you might be hitting some sort of ironic, comedic overload think three or four hours of The Daily Show , he throws in an emotional connection that reminds us these characters are also human.For instance, in the middle of an escape with the Special Forces crew and a few ancillary staff, the team takes a moment A brief council of war is convened, during which everyone takes turns to hold Egon, because he is shaking and needs to be loved, and we are leaving no one behind, not physically and not spiritually, because we are who we are and that is how we re going to stay p.231.There is a powerful motif of identity running through, and the identity we have as people versus the identity we have in roles, whether chosen or foisted upon us One of the most moving and ambivalent sections of this dealt with George Copsen, the father of one of Gonzo s admirers, and a member of the military He lifts the red telephone and says Copsen Someone on the other end speaks, firmly and simply General George either grows older or grows colder it happens to him from within like a tall building being demolished or flowers growing in fast motion, and I realise he is making himself into the cog, rather than the man p.188 The ultimate outcome of this theme via the mechanism of the Stuff, was downright amazing I was astonished.What elevates it beyond a discourse on human nature civilization is the astonishing concept of the Go Away Bomb, and it s fallout, the Stuff view spoiler The Go Away Bomb is a thing of awful power, a vacuum cleaner of information, sucking the organising principle, the information, out of matter, and energy. Professor Derek assumed that either of these latter two stripped of the first simply ceased to exist It seems he was wrong Matter stripped of information becomes Stuff desperate for new information It becomes hungry p.255 hide spoiler

  5. says:

    dear jasmine,you and i are so diametrically opposed in all things literary i swear i am not rating this on the lower side just to retaliate for your not loving winshaw legacy if the truth be told, it s higher than a three, but i feel like i give out a lot of fours, and i think i may have failed this book rather than this book failing me failing like the way i am going to fail this computer class i.e spectacularly it had a lot of things to make me respond positively there were some truly memorable scenes the showdown between master wu and the ninjas was really beautifully done, the found thousand was another gorgeous part, ike thermite is incredibly lovable and badass there are a lot of lovable characters, come to think of it there was just so much i m still not clear about what FOX does to stuff, or how the pipe actually functioned there was a lot happening in the middle that made for great scenes and images, almost short stories within the book that i would hate to not have read, but which muddied the shape of the narrative a little for me plus i have been drowning in school and stress and mess in my head there were days when i would go to read it on break and end up sleeping the whole hour on the stoop sigh, i am so utterly classy and days where i had to read my computer textbook which means no time for fun reading fat lot of good it did me, i say but you know what the i am thinking about this and writing through it the i am liking isolated elements of it i think i will give it a four anyway its not like i am on the nobel panel or anything i liked this book there now i am closer in taste to you, and i can continue my month of dystopian, apocalyptic and other world disaster reading.sincerely,karen t brissetteoh, and i forgot to all the people who aren t jasmime the book is fuzzy not fuzzy like my cat, but like the poochie and slomo book so even if you dont like mimes and ninjas and aftermath of technologically advanced weaponry then you can carry it around like a pet its an example of worst transition to paperback ever because the tp is such a boring cover, comparatively get your fuzz on

  6. says:

    Everyone should read this book It is extremely enjoyable and amazing Harkaway writes the heck out of this book.I can t really explain to you what this is about That would be very difficult It is a combination of the movies The Expendables franchise Shogun AssassinV for VendettaReal Genius Fast and Furious franchise The Karate KidThe English PatientApocalypse NowPitch BlackChronicles of RiddickWe Are What We Are 2013 Along with the books Catch 22, Vertical Run, and, most strongly, Reamde This book reminded me a lot of Reamde, while still being COMPLETELY different Which is amazing, Reamde is one of my all time favorite books.Add Harkaway s own bright, unique talent and you ve got a definite winner.Harkaway ruthlessly strips away all veneers and performs a brutal yet funny exposure of human nature This book is filled with truth, but gentled by humor, so it is bearable.He also has a savage mistrust of government and corporations and this subtle, manipulative thread is woven throughout the whole story.It s a glorious mishmash of violence, love, tenderness, family, war, and genocide.You re not being very clear.It s super hard to be clear about this insanely twisting and turning 576 page novel Its light, it s dark, it s funny, it s brutally honest People fall in love, people die, war is waged, babies are born.Alright, here s some helpful advice for you.Harkaway s writing style is the style of old man sitting at the bar telling you his life story This is very tedious and hard to get through Don t expect a lot of dialogue In fact, it is pretty much one long, continuous monologue which is unbroken.The book is amazing, excellent, stunning, brutal, and funny but you are going to need frequent breaks 576 pages, I could have gobbled this amount in one day However, you just cannot do that with this book You are going to need a rest.Because of all the truth Harkaway is laying down NO Because his writing style is relentless and merciless, and not in a good way o.OWhat else Well, I might as well give you a few tastes Some memories are greyscale paint by numbers If you examine them in your head, your mind hurriedly glosses everything, fills in the spaces with tints and shades If you turn your head too quickly, you catch yourself daubing the walls to match what you know was there but cannot actually recall Others are all sensation, all colour and no detail The living room of my parents house in memory is a cool airy blue, with a dark oak fireplace and modern oil paintings in driftwood frames It s like a living room cut into a glacier In the same memories my father is a deep voice from an upward direction, a moving wall of woollen trouser and leather brogues He is a source of unexpected swoops and presents wrapped inexpertly in newspaper My mother is brown corduroy and a nurturing spoon Her hands are cool upon my forehead, soothing my fevers, making magic on bruises and knocks.How about this, here s an example of Harkaway s humor I spend five minutes pottering around admiring Royce Allen s off the peg stuff while his nervous assistant follows me to and fro, nodding when I make little noises of discontent and explaining that while everything I see is of highest quality in all respects the bespoke work is vastly superior I try on a shirt It makes me look like a god I suggest that it s a little tight under the arms Yes Definitely pulling what sort of thread does Royce Allen use in his seams It feels coarse The assistant assures me that the thread is the finest baby hair and angora rabbit, the softest known to man I sigh It must be the fabric then A pity No, no, the fabric is a cotton picked by child slave labourers who wash and moisturize their hands every hour so as to prevent their fingers from roughing the fibres They bleed, of course, but their blood contains chemicals owing to a strictly controlled diet which actually add to the luxuriant mellowness of the weave The blood is as a matter of course hygienically bleached out with a mineral cleansing agent made from crushed diamond and virgin s saliva, which adds lustre and radiance, and also gives the finished shirt the toughness of ballistic nylon.Notice how Harkaway neatly sidesteps any dialogue in this scene where our MC is interacting with a sales clerk This is the whole book This is why you ll need frequent breaks Brilliant, funny, fascinating great writing Exhausting writing style, you have been warned.Last one Fear is an emotion with many shapes It can be a thing of jolts and shudders, like an electric shock, or it can be like the tendril of cold night air which reaches you in your bed when all your door and windows should be closed It can come in the shape of a well known footstep in the wrong place at the wrong time, or a foreign one in a familiar room But all fear is connected, a susurrus which plays around you in the dark and brushes against your skin, pushes the hair back from your face like an uninvited guest, and slips away before you dare to open your eyes Also, fear is SNEAKY It establishes a foothold and sits, content While you confront it, it is small and weak, and looks back at you with timorous eyes, so that you wonder how it could ever stir you for than a moment Turn you back, and it waxes, casting giant shadows and flickering in the corner of your eye, leaning lingeringly on the creaky floorboard It inflates and bursts, propelling fragments of itself to the far corners of your mind, where they grow again until you are inundated, and you drown.Highly accurate.Now, let s talk about surprises I rather unkindly posted a status update at page 273, saying, I m not surprised You keep trying to surprise me, author this is the second time , and I don t want to hurt your feelings, but I can see your shocking twists coming from a mile away Two miles I mean, the book is excellent EXCELLENT, but twists aren t exactly your strong suit Stop trying so hard, okay Thanks Actually, this was not unkind It was true Harkaway s first two attempts at SHOCKING TWISTS left me mildly annoyed I saw them coming from a mile away I didn t MIND the twists, I liked where the story was going and thought Harkaway was writing superbly well what annoyed me was his kind of whoosh I have taken off the cloth Aren t you SHOCKED by what s underneath and I was like, No, no, I m not Actually I predicted that would happen So would you calm down, please HOWEVER This is a big however Harkaway delivers some huge, truly shocking, amazing twists at the end of the book I think he was looking to deliver three, but I m sorry, Harkaway I saw the third one coming But the two twists that got me were, in fact, shocking and brilliant The kind where you gasp out loud in a public place and everyone turns to look at you and you don t even care because you re like, Holy shit These are the best kind of twists So I forgive him for the three that fell flat for me Perhaps they will work on other readers, I may be too jaded and too well read for some things.Um what else Don t be afraid of this because it s science fiction and I don t read science fiction It s completely an amazing read, I wish we d stop genre ing everything because I think it s counter productive.If you are a hetero woman or anyone who has any sexuality that finds men attractive, this MC is highly yummy exhibiting many mensch like traits And there is a tiny bit of kissing and also snuggling SNUGGLING in this book which is highly swoon worthy Nothing explicit, no on page sex, but if you enjoy reading about HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE MEN in the sense that they are a mensch of the highest order, who also treat women right and have snuggling, then this is heaven Highly recommend if you want a new literary crush A whole book of a mensch going around doing mensch like things and having occasional kissing and snuggling is like heaven to me, I was in heaven YUM Perhaps Professor Derek accursed be his name and his seed in eternity, and may giant badgers pursue him for ever through the Bewildering Hell of Fire Ants, Soap Opera and Urethral Infections is still alive and trying to clean up his mess. Random funny quote.Another rather annoying thing is perhaps because Harkaway is ignorant of pop culture that he chooses to name one of his MCs Bey Now, I may not be on Twitter, but even I can t help instantly thinking of Beyonce every single time this character Bey was mentioned Since Bey, is, in fact, a rather elderly pirate man, this was highly unhelpful Phrases like house of Bey and bring me Bey had me cracking up hysterically for once, not Harkaway s goal as I was picturing either Beyonce or the term everyone uses now called bae It was a bad choice, IMO.But besides Harkaway s relentless writing style, any quibbles with this book are minor I was highly peeved by his decision to include mimes MIMES and at one point a circus UGH So many shudders I have to deal with mimes AND a circus in this book ANGER But given the general amazing ness of this book I think it s forgivable.Tl dr It is a winner It blew me out of the water It surprised me, educated me, made me laugh, and engrossed me It was smart and funny and kind It was brutally true but also surprisingly gentle It was wonderful I highly recommend to anyone who lives on the planet Earth, or anyone who breathes oxygen Men will love it, women will love it, older people will love it, younger people will love it There s no boundary here Even people who don t read science fiction might find this book strangely readable I d say that about Reamde, too A Highest marks.

  7. says:

    I was initially excited to read this book because I love post apocalyptic fiction and because the first reviewers of the book seemed to think it was a wonderful work of fiction The publishers gave Harkaway a little over 535,000 to write the book, so I was hoping that there was a reason for it other than that Harkaway is the son of famous author John le Carre Unfortunately, I found myself thinking the publishers got a raw deal since the problems I had with the first 2 pages continued throughout the book I handed the book to my husband, also a prolific reader, and he thought it was as awful as I did The grammar breaks all the rules Misplaced modifiers abound The author turns everything into a metaphor and then rambles on for several paragraphs concerning that metaphor And the majority of the book exists only because the author is unable to keep himself from going off on wild tangents that may or may not relate to the story at large.However, I was willing to suspend the technical problems of the book as artistic license since so many ecstatic reviewers seemed to think Harkaway s writing style is groundbreaking Unfortunately, as I read on, I found myself dreading picking up the book every day I d find myself nodding off to sleep after 2 pages and find myself forcing myself to plod through After 147 pages, I just can t bring myself to read 351 pages.I have a feeling that this is a book that either you like or you hate I didn t want to be a hater, but I just can t go on My congratulations to those of you who could Note While I critique both purchased and free books in the same way, I m legally obligated to tell you I received this book free through the Vine program in return for my review Blah blah blah.

  8. says:

    FOR THE SHORT REVIEW SKIP TO THE BOTTOM Not since Catcher in the Rye have I felt that a book was written specifically for me Not that much is really shared between them, except they are those rare books that brim with complete and utter awesomeness They were also that exact book I needed to read at that exact point in life.Upon reading the cover flap I thought I was in store for something a bit pulpy and moderately derivative This is something I usually don t mind since I am very fond of genre fiction However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that while getting the gist of the story absolutely right the flap writers also got it wrong Rarely have I been happier.Why read this book Why not The writing style is fun, yet serious The characters are multi dimensional and well utilized The plotting perfectly navigates that dangerous ground between the fields of literary and believable understandable science fiction Unfortunately, this may be a flaw, as unimaginative readers of both stripes may just give this one a skip.What else, Ryan Tell us.Sure thing, no problem.Perfectly placed comedic gems are liberally scattered through the book, even as horrific events unfold There is love and war and kung fu scenes never before found between such day glo covers More importantly there is terrible sadness and friendship and that wonderful all that matters at the end of the day trait called loyalty.Now, I don t like to beg not true , but I implore you to give this one a chance Step out of your comfort zone, grab this pink, fuzzy book and hold on for dear life When you are finished reading you will approach me I will nod calmly and knowingly as you offer your neverending thanks for making you read The Gone Away World.SHORT REVIEW If you didn t have a pulse this book would give you one.

  9. says:

    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 I ve read Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  10. says:

    The genius of The Gone Away World sneaks up on you in a loud and bombastic way Nick Harkaway s writing reminds me two Douglases who are masters of the absurd and apocalyptic Douglas Coupland and Douglas Adams Sardonic and observant, Harkaway tosses off scene after scene of unrelenting zany fun Yet when the smoke clears and the score is tallied, The Gone Away World is ultimately, like JPod or The Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy, about what it means to be human.The title of the book comes from the most terrible superweapon ever invented, the Go Away Bomb When deployed, the bomb makes information instantly cease to exist Unfortunately, a side effect of going away is the creation of nebulous Stuff , which responds to random thoughts and memories in a person s mind and makes those thoughts real The result mutants, monsters, and even entirely new people made real by Stuff When multiple countries deploy Go Away bombs in a fantastic feat of mutually assured destruction, the Gone Away World begins.After a brief opening chapter set in the book s present, the story jumps into the past and covers events from the narrator s childhood up until the beginning of the book While this narrative tactic results in almost exclusively entertaining events, it really only makes sense after the massive mind screw plot twist toward the end of the book About halfway through this section of the book, I started getting bored, because I was wondering when the first chapter would become relevant again Then the plot twist made it all worth it.It s the sort of plot twist that would ordinarily be a horrible device Harkaway manages to pull it off because it actually makes the book make sense What was, up until that point, seemingly an exercise in random autobiographical anarchy becomes relevant to both the plot and The Gone Away World s chilling themes about dehumanization in the face of bureaucracy And here Harkaway shows why he s on the level of Douglas Adams Adams was an extremely funny writer who managed to produce scathing satires of British bureaucracy think Vogons Harkaway does the same with his massive Jorgamund Corporation, and he also manages to throw in ninjas and mimes for good measure Like Adams, his humour subtly reinforces the book s themes.What themes As mentioned above, much of The Gone Away World attacks bureaucracy The major antagonist is what the protagonist terms a type A pencil neck a person so entirely consumed by the mechanism in which he or she is employed that they had ceased to exist as a separate entity The book goes on to explore how some people use cognitive dissonance to keep their humanity intact in dehumanizing lines of work, whether they are appallingly destructive or just mindlessly tedious The Gone Away World isn t merely about retaining one s humanity in the face of external threats like Stuff it s a cautionary tale about unintentionally sacrificing one s humanity in the name of doing good.I like it when I read a book that s obviously well planned, where each piece of the narrative supports the others I love it when I don t realize how well planned a book is until a sudden reveal near the end As long as the journey along the way is enjoyable, it s a much rewarding experience The Gone Away World is unquestionably a long, rambling story But it all comes together in the end There are Crowning Moments of Awesome and genuine moments of peril for the protagonist, moments when you wonder how he could possibly win against the odds.