Jennifer Government

Written by: Max Barry

Jennifer Government Book Cover
In Max Barry's twisted, hilarious and terrifying vision of the near future, the world is run by giant corporations and employees take the last names of the companies they work for. It's a globalised, ultra-capitalist free market paradise! Hack Nike is a lowly merchandising officer who's not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives fr In Max Barry's twisted, hilarious and terrifying vision of the near future, the world is run by giant corporations and employees take the last names of the companies they work for. It's a globalised, ultra-capitalist free market paradise! Hack Nike is a lowly merchandising officer who's not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives from the promised land of Marketing, offer him a contract, he signs without reading it. Unfortunately, Hack's new contract involves shooting teenagers to build up street cred for Nike's new line of $2,500 trainers. Hack goes to the police - but they assume that he's asking for a subcontracting deal and lease the assassination to the more experienced NRA. Enter Jennifer Government, a tough-talking agent with a barcode tattoo under her eye and a personal problem with John Nike (the boss of the other John Nike). And a gun. Hack is about to find out what it really means to mess with market forces.
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Jennifer Government Reviews

✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
One of my favourite books ever! It is extremely smart & creative, packed with brilliant ideas from beginning to end, there's always something going on and I really liked the way all the characters interact. I enjoyed Barry's Syrupand Company but to me Jennifer Government is definitely his best book.

For those interested, Max Barry created a free nation simulation game based on "Jennifer Governement": NationStates.
Lisa
This was a fun dystopian book. Focusing on the take over of companies (where you surname is the company you work for) and on power hungry individuals who want to win at any cost.
I feel like this had a few too many characters and the narrative could have been clarified if a few less people were included (although the interwoven nature of the power grabs and greed are very well represented). Also, I am not sure all the subplots were really adding something more to the story, so maybe this too coul This was a fun dystopian book. Focusing on the take over of companies (where you surname is the company you work for) and on power hungry individuals who want to win at any cost.
I feel like this had a few too many characters and the narrative could have been clarified if a few less people were included (although the interwoven nature of the power grabs and greed are very well represented). Also, I am not sure all the subplots were really adding something more to the story, so maybe this too could have been simplified. I also really struggled with how misogynistic all the male characters are. This is not addressed by any of the female characters in the text and while it could be seen as "part of the culture" it was gratuitously mentioned and gross.
Overall it was a really fun, interconnected story of corporations, greed, power, and those who are trying to make the world fair.
Manny Galindo
The quality of the premise was not matched by the quality of the writing style.
Where the Heart Is :: Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books :: Run Silent Run Deep :: The Wildest Brother :: The Táin: From the Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge
Nikki Balzer
easy read and a lot of fun if you ignore the overuse of corporate names and lack of reality. but isnt thsthatt what a sfi book is about???
Alice
I reread this for a book club recently. I'd first read it soon after it came out, and all I remembered clearly was that I liked it. So, I refreshed my memory.

Jennifer Government is set in an alternate Earth where corporations have the run of the place. People's names are derived from where they work, or which corporation owns their school. The government is an entity like any other, the biggest difference being that it's not as well-funded as the rest. The NRA has a strong corporate presence, an I reread this for a book club recently. I'd first read it soon after it came out, and all I remembered clearly was that I liked it. So, I refreshed my memory.

Jennifer Government is set in an alternate Earth where corporations have the run of the place. People's names are derived from where they work, or which corporation owns their school. The government is an entity like any other, the biggest difference being that it's not as well-funded as the rest. The NRA has a strong corporate presence, and its members are often tapped for hired killings.

The story begins with Hack Nike, a weak-willed peon, tasked with creating buzz for sneakers by having kids who bought them murdered. When he goes to the police to report this illegal activity, they assume he's contracting them for the killing, and draw up a contract. Skip to the scene of one of the murders, of which the titular character has heard and is trying to prevent. In the process of chasing down the shooter, she damages a brand new car, and on top of all of her other paperwork is being sued for those damages.

The book follows several perspectives, though I found myself easily able to follow whose section was whose. Each character has very different drives and morals, and it shows. All are told in a snappy, quick pace that was often funny. Jennifer's sections are the most sardonic, and I found myself reminded why I liked her enough to want to reread this book.

My complaints are minor. The first, and this isn't the book's fault, is that it's dated. Jennifer Government came out in 2004, and it has references to VCRs, talks about cell phones like they're exotic and special, and the networking capabilities in the book are hilariously outdated. It served as a solid reminder that the book was meant to be alterate-Earth, not near-future.

Second, Hack starts out so clueless about how his world works. I suppose if he understood better, we wouldn't have had much of a plot. It's possible that he was deliberately kept ignorant, too, as this world doesn't have much room for coddling. I would've liked to have seen more evidence for that, though.

Third, the book relies heavily on coincidence. The cast of characters shifts about to three different continents, yet it's often the same players affecting events. There's some amusement value in their shifting alliances and changes in outlook, but there were too many coincidences tying these characters together.

Overall, I was glad to be given a chance to reread this book. It was an entertaining read, and it fits a lot of my own deep suspicions about those who profit in today's economy. It's absolutely stuffed with hyperbole, but, as it's hyperbole I can get behind, I didn't mind one little bit.

If you're looking for some anti-capitalist commentary with your zany adventures, you could do a lot worse than Jennifer Government.
Jane
This was a strange book that I really enjoyed. I cringed, I laughed, I scratched my head.

It's pretty far out, with very little government rules and regs and corporations doing what they want - not to mention a big class gap, with the top getting richer. With the current government in place, and a lot of clamoring for less government regulations and rich guys in charge - I could see that this is not a TOO far fetched scenario.
Heidi
What a fun book this was. I'm not normally a sci-fi sort of gal, but I do love a good dystopian read. Oftenly, the two go hand in hand as it did with Jennifer Government.

But.

Jennifer Government takes a different look at what life might be like in the not-so-distant future. Democracy. Marketing. Free enterprise. Consumerism. Federal regulation... we're all familiar with these terms, but we don't take the time to really think about what they mean. Believe - they are counting on our "not thinking" What a fun book this was. I'm not normally a sci-fi sort of gal, but I do love a good dystopian read. Oftenly, the two go hand in hand as it did with Jennifer Government.

But.

Jennifer Government takes a different look at what life might be like in the not-so-distant future. Democracy. Marketing. Free enterprise. Consumerism. Federal regulation... we're all familiar with these terms, but we don't take the time to really think about what they mean. Believe - they are counting on our "not thinking".

Set largely in Australia with scenes in London and Los Angeles, Jennifer Government takes a look at what life would be like if America ruled the world. After the abolishment of taxes, everything (I mean EVERYTHING) is left to the private sector. Late for work? Hop on the toll way. Only $17.50 per mile and no speed limit. Need an ambulance? No problem, just read your credit card number to the operator and she will validate your ability to pay and the ambulance is on it's way. Schools are funded and run by Mattel. Your last name is determined by where you work... (I'd be, Tender Carstar (hahaha lol)). And this is where we meet Jennifer Government. When her company (oh yes, the government is very much a business) is obliterated, she goes rouge and kicks all kinds of ass.

Max Barry created a large character pool for his book. This doesn't often work out well for a novel, but I'd have to say it succeeded this time. Barry even uses the character confusion to his advantage in developing the plot. It's slightly comical how they all kinda float about bumping in to each other without knowing who's who and what's what.

I wasn't 100% satisfied with the main character, in the end. Barry did an amazing job of expressing the Nike guy's hysteria... but he reduced Government to a petrified mother... and... why the hell did she hold such a grudge against him in the first place? Late child support? LMAO! Anyway, I would have liked to see Government unleashed in her furry.

My favorite character was Billy NRA. He wanted one simple thing out of life, and took a really insane trip to get there. :) I can relate. And I just liked reading about him.
Robert Kroese
The jacket describes Jennifer Government as taking place in the "near future." It must be the VERY near future, because technologically the world seems to be stuck in 2003 -- or even earlier. As an example: At one point a stock broker has to borrow a cell phone from another character. Really? I'm pretty sure every stock broker in the world has had a cell phone since 1997.

The only real difference from our world is that the world of JG is dominated by a handful of multinational corporations. Chara The jacket describes Jennifer Government as taking place in the "near future." It must be the VERY near future, because technologically the world seems to be stuck in 2003 -- or even earlier. As an example: At one point a stock broker has to borrow a cell phone from another character. Really? I'm pretty sure every stock broker in the world has had a cell phone since 1997.

The only real difference from our world is that the world of JG is dominated by a handful of multinational corporations. Characters take the names of their employers as surnames; hence characters named John Nike, Billy NRA, Jim GE, etc. And then there's Jennifer Government, a law enforcement officer who works for the marginalized entity that is the withered remains of the U.S. government. Jennifer Government finds herself in the middle of a burgeoning war between two corporate alliances.

Basically this is a story of free market capitalism run amok, and it's an entertaining story that does a good job of pushing libertarian/anarchist ideas to their extreme. As a libertarian-leaning conservative myself, I might have taken offense at the author's caricatures, but Max Barry satirizes with a sufficiently light hand that I never felt like he was preaching. Additionally, his caricature is so clearly a reductio ad absurdum of ideas that only an extremist would embrace in their entirety that I didn't take it personally. I guess you could say that's a weakness of the book -- that his world is so obviously fictional that a real-world libertarian can easily dismiss it. But within this context, Barry does connect with some solid jabs, and the story is entertaining enough to keep the reader from feeling like this is an economic treatise.

At times very funny (my favorite moment being when a Nike executive devises a plan to increase the street cred of their new $2,500 shoes by killing off their customers), Jennifer Government is a light, easy, fast-moving read.
Denise
Max Barry's novel, Jennifer Government, is a wild ride through the near future, when American consumerism and culture have consolidated much of the world under a single American government. People take their surname from the company that the work for, and the unemployed are easily identifiable by their lack of surnames. The novel opens with a bang when a lowly merchandiser, Hack Nike, heads up to a different floor to get some water and meets men in marketing, both named John Nike, at the water c Max Barry's novel, Jennifer Government, is a wild ride through the near future, when American consumerism and culture have consolidated much of the world under a single American government. People take their surname from the company that the work for, and the unemployed are easily identifiable by their lack of surnames. The novel opens with a bang when a lowly merchandiser, Hack Nike, heads up to a different floor to get some water and meets men in marketing, both named John Nike, at the water cooler. Hack is offered a guerilla marketing position and eagerly signs his contract without reading it. He soon realizes that he has agreed to assassinate ten people as a way of boosting Nike's profits. Meanwhile, a savvy and ambitious government agent, Jennifer Government gets wind of the plans.

To reveal more of what happens would be to ruin Max Barry's rambunctious plot, which bends and folds and ties itself in knots as the action heats up, involving the CEO's of other American corporations, the NRA, a disillusioned stockbroker, and a computer hacker named Violet. The pacing never lets up, always leaping ahead with new surprises, although near the end these constant turns of plot left me confused about where a particular character was, what he knew, who he knew and how. Barry breezes his readers through the insanity of his futuristic world with skill and confidence.

Max Barry fans won't want to miss this novel. This is an entertaining satire best read in a few sittings. You won't find any deep insights here, but you will certainly get a few laughs and a sharp-eyed look at America's consumerism.
John Boettcher
I read this book awhile back and couldn't really decide whether I liked it or not.

Taxation was abolished. Good.

Corporations were now basically the government. Bad.

Free markets were taken to the extreme. Good.

Corporations put hits out to kill people legally. Bad.

There were some really good concepts in the book, but then it too it off on a tangent that was both unrealistic, but some of the philosophical points that Barry tries to make in the book about extreme capitalism would have been solve I read this book awhile back and couldn't really decide whether I liked it or not.

Taxation was abolished. Good.

Corporations were now basically the government. Bad.

Free markets were taken to the extreme. Good.

Corporations put hits out to kill people legally. Bad.

There were some really good concepts in the book, but then it too it off on a tangent that was both unrealistic, but some of the philosophical points that Barry tries to make in the book about extreme capitalism would have been solved almost instantaneously by that exact mechanism: The Free Market.

What he is describing is basically the government simple going under a different name, suck as Nike. There is no real change in how the corporation or the government works, Barry just uses a different name for them and tries to make us think that this is how it would be like if all governments were abolished and the free market had reign over the entire world.

Totally false. All the problems that came up in the story would never have happened had the government actually been abolished. Any deficiencies or needs would have been met by service and goods providers who would have stepped in at a lower cost and undercut the "monopoly" and control that the corporations were shown to have in the book.

Was the book entertaining? Parts of it were. The dialogue wasn't that good and the story moved along at a pace I really can't describe. Sort of like a Lava Lamp.

In the end, good premises, bad conclusions. Barry himself would be a great government worker.
A.J.
Not particularly well written, this story makes up for that with it's attitude. Fun, exhuberant and all the while cutting a little closer to the truth than sane people might appreciate. So if highbrow is your thing - don't even start - but if your brian hurts then you could do worse than leave it at the door and read this.

So it's set in a dystopic future where corporations are king and unless you have money you can't expect justice. The police wont even start to solve crimes without being paid Not particularly well written, this story makes up for that with it's attitude. Fun, exhuberant and all the while cutting a little closer to the truth than sane people might appreciate. So if highbrow is your thing - don't even start - but if your brian hurts then you could do worse than leave it at the door and read this.

So it's set in a dystopic future where corporations are king and unless you have money you can't expect justice. The police wont even start to solve crimes without being paid - after all how else should they get money now that people are no longer being taxed?

To a large extent the characters are ciphers, but they are fun ciphers, who make mistakes, have their own agendas and run the gamut between the John Nike's self obsessed desire to succeed, no matter the cost to anybody else, to Jennifer's desire to do what is right and make the world safe from people like John who will stop at nothing, not killing and not even all out war to ensure that he reaches the top of the corprorate ladder.

The ensuing results are pretty funny, and a shrewdly overplayed social commentary all at once.

Nice.

NB - everyone's last name is the same name as their corporation. An amusing device that keeps the action going as there's no need to stop the plot and explain what fictional corporation people work for.
Dru
In the future, (or, as I prefer to think of it, an alternate reality) corporations are in control and the government is the underdog. Everyone takes as their surname the company they work for (John Nike, Haley McDonalds, etc.) or, if they're unemployed, none at all. At the start, the initiation of an absurdly amoral and homicidal marketing campaign affects and intertwines the lives of a certain handful of citizens. This is a breezy, entertaining read with nary a dull moment. Will it force you to In the future, (or, as I prefer to think of it, an alternate reality) corporations are in control and the government is the underdog. Everyone takes as their surname the company they work for (John Nike, Haley McDonalds, etc.) or, if they're unemployed, none at all. At the start, the initiation of an absurdly amoral and homicidal marketing campaign affects and intertwines the lives of a certain handful of citizens. This is a breezy, entertaining read with nary a dull moment. Will it force you to ponder the state of things? Probably not. Are the characters a little underdeveloped? Perhaps. But it is what it is, and if it were a ponderous character study it wouldn't be such a fast, fun read. It actually reads like a screenplay, and that might even be intentional. At one point one of the characters in the midst of gunfights and explosions observes that it's "just like a movie". (And there are many, many "cinematic" moments before and after that observation.) If you're looking for something that's easy to get into (the first chapter's a grabber) and you can finish in less than a day or two, then this one certainly gets the job done.
Tasula
In a future world, corporations hold most of the power, and people identify themselves with the company they work for, to the extreme of taking the company name as their surname- e.g. John Nike. The companies ally themselves with like minded others. The government seems to exist as an entity that makes some laws and tries to prevent crimes. Jennifer Government - from her name it is clear she works for the government- has a long standing grudge against ambitious John Nike, VP of Guerilla Marketin In a future world, corporations hold most of the power, and people identify themselves with the company they work for, to the extreme of taking the company name as their surname- e.g. John Nike. The companies ally themselves with like minded others. The government seems to exist as an entity that makes some laws and tries to prevent crimes. Jennifer Government - from her name it is clear she works for the government- has a long standing grudge against ambitious John Nike, VP of Guerilla Marketing. The supporting cast of characters include a stockbroker, a teenager wild about new Nikes, Jennifer's 8yr old daughter, a young sharpshooter, a programming genius, who meet, separate, meet again in a comedy-tragedy of events. I enjoyed the book and admire Max Barry's imagination (and I loved his Lexicon even more).
Dustin
a darkly humorous dystopic cyberpunk novel where the libertarians won. Mega-corporations own and operate everything, the schools, the police, the roads, everything. The corps are so all-controlling that people change their last name to fit corporate branding (like the title character Jennifer Government) and the government has been so gutted that it can’t investigate a crime without a victim fronting the cash for a budget.

With this nightmare of a universe as the backdrop Max Berry presents an e a darkly humorous dystopic cyberpunk novel where the libertarians won. Mega-corporations own and operate everything, the schools, the police, the roads, everything. The corps are so all-controlling that people change their last name to fit corporate branding (like the title character Jennifer Government) and the government has been so gutted that it can’t investigate a crime without a victim fronting the cash for a budget.

With this nightmare of a universe as the backdrop Max Berry presents an exciting tale full of action, politics, and humor. This was the first cyberpunk book I ever read and I think it’s a solid recommend in that category at three stars out of five.
Brandon Tietz
Although this was an original concept and a fresh take on corporations/hostile takeovers, the execution kind of fell flat for me. The "action" scenes are almost boring there's so many of them.

Great idea and I like the way Barry structured this thing with the rotating POV, but the plot was murky with gunfire and paper-thin characters that you don't really find yourself caring about.

If the idea wasn't as good as it is, this one would come in at two stars. The concept alone is the saving grace of t Although this was an original concept and a fresh take on corporations/hostile takeovers, the execution kind of fell flat for me. The "action" scenes are almost boring there's so many of them.

Great idea and I like the way Barry structured this thing with the rotating POV, but the plot was murky with gunfire and paper-thin characters that you don't really find yourself caring about.

If the idea wasn't as good as it is, this one would come in at two stars. The concept alone is the saving grace of this thing.

I'll read his other stuff, but this one didn't do it for me.
Cynic
Though I decided I'd only add reviews for books I've read since signing up to this site I decided there should be one exception. This book takes a rather cynical look at what could be considered a likely future in a corporate led society. Jennifer Government provides satire, drama and a damning look at corporate marketing. I'd consider it a must read and a book I'd recommend for anybody, and one I have bought for friends in the past to prove that.
Matt Kelty
Can I have a few hours of my life back? The world doesn't need another half-baked liberal arts major who thinks he has an original insight that McDonalds and Pepsi are big, evil corporations.

If this was written by a 15 year old, you'd applaud their drive. When it's written by an adult, it's just kind of sad.
Ericka Clouther
A slightly silly but a fun dystopian action book. Also, this book is a fun liberal revenge on allegorical books by Ayn Rand. It is certainly more enjoyable than Ayn Rand.

On the other hand, now that there are daily news stories about the President-elect mixing his business interests with his government duties, are we plummeting more quickly toward the Jennifer Government world?
Nina
The large number of characters in this book left me a little confused at times as to who is who again and how they are all connected. I also felt the book dragged on a little near the end. Other than that it is a really great story set in a slightly frightening and yet oddly recognizable alternative reality where privatization reigns supreme.
Jennifer
So many dystopias focus on the fear of a totalitarian government. Jennifer Government is one of the few to go completely to the other end of the spectrum where instead everything (including the government) is completely capitalistic.

I found the idea interesting, and creepy because it seems we (here in America) are closer to this dystopia than any other I have read...
Bettie
I had forgotten about this one - not surprising. Does anyone still interact on line? I'll have a peek.

Yes - just installed a nation:


The Republic of Vimsig
"Three better than four"

Category: New York Times Democracy
Civil Rights: Good
Economy: Reasonable
Political Freedoms: World Benchmark
Reid
This satire of a free-market "paradise" where people take the name of their employer as their last name and the police outsource contract killings reads like something Neal Stephenson might have written if he'd continued in the vein of Snow Crash - and that's a compliment.
Rachael
Jennifer Government is basically 1984 but with all-powerful corporations rather than government. At times the plot and the universe created feel a bit underdeveloped, but it's still an interesting read.
Psychophant
A capitalism criticism as a satire, relatively funny but totally unconnected both with how companies work and how the world acts.

As in so many satires, practically everyone is incompetent and clueless.

Light entertainment rather than any kind of serious analysis.
nimrodiel
I've had several people tell me that I should read this over the past couple of years. I'm extremly glad that I had the chance to take a glimpse at this look into a future US society.

See where this book travels to next, at: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/5...
Jennie
Really disappointing. I love dystopia stories, and everyone highly recommended this book. It has a few great ideas but overall fails to deliver due to the poor writing quality and lack of character development.
Aethelberga
I'm sure I'm not the first to say this but this book has a real Cory Doctorow vibe. I liked the concept and the execution. It was difficult to put down and I would definitely read something else set in this universe.
The Scarlet Pervygirl
I don't remember this book getting a whole lot of attention when it came out, despite the idea of a woman voluntarily tattooing a bar code on her face, but it is a charming read that ultimately turns out to be somewhat more nutritious than you'd think from reading the book jacket.
Alvin
A hilarious social satire of a dystopian near-future in which corporations have total control over all aspects of life. What a joy to read a Left-wing critique that isn't full of crypto-stalinist snark and self-congratulatory romanticism!
Jordan Price
A great story about the world of unchecked corporations and consumerism.
Dave
If the world ever becomes this way I do not want to live in it! Great story Mr. Barry! This would be a great movie.
Brian Aubert
Rollicking satire of consumerism, business, and free markets in not so distant future. Over the top action, explosions, and humor. In the same vein as Snow Crash.
Mike Steib
Fun cop drama that plays out in a near future of libertarianism run amok. A good antidote for anyone who thought Atlas Shrugged made some good points.
Malcolm Little
In Jennifer Government, it becomes quickly obvious Max Barry has set out to entertain readers with an unrelenting thrill ride. The ride cuts through swaths of themes, all revolving around corporatocracy and its built-in drawbacks, especially if taken to the extreme. From the first chapter, where a dizzying but manageable array of protagonists set the stage, the story takes off and never lets up.

What does one get in Jennifer Government? Jet setting? Brand recognition? Corporate Assassination? We In Jennifer Government, it becomes quickly obvious Max Barry has set out to entertain readers with an unrelenting thrill ride. The ride cuts through swaths of themes, all revolving around corporatocracy and its built-in drawbacks, especially if taken to the extreme. From the first chapter, where a dizzying but manageable array of protagonists set the stage, the story takes off and never lets up.

What does one get in Jennifer Government? Jet setting? Brand recognition? Corporate Assassination? Well, yes, but we’ve seen those umpteen times before. What I think Jennifer Government does above and beyond those is to launch the elements to the stratosphere. To fully realize a world where monopolies and fast-everything is the norm, and one’s intellect is measured by decorating one’s life with products (and one’s face in a particular circumstance). Because of Barry’s rigorous worldbuilding, we get a novel that’s enjoyable on a variety of levels. Action and plot move effortlessly, delivering a bevy of unanticipated twists. The characters range the gamut of multidimensional archetypes, some deserving of support and sympathy, others deserving of vitriol and comeuppance. Every single one of them is balanced by an overriding characteristic: shallowness as a consequence of a shallow world. The shallowness doesn’t detract from deep characterization, rather it pervades over everyone, like a poltergeist trying to force principles back into their fetal position.

Jennifer Government, as with most of Barry’s works, is light on the science fiction. It’s far more a sociological experiment, a satire playing off the likes of Lem and Orwell (1984 in reverse, yet with similar outcomes). There’s enough in the taut pages to provoke thought, even if the root of those thoughts were not entirely original. Stylistically speaking, Barry easily slips in nods and wordplay both subtle and blatant.

As the greater story unfolds, I was reminded of THX1138. The cast of characters seemed largely infantilized, reflected so by a daughter of the main character who hardly comes off less mature. Naturally, everyone suffers from tunnel vision, as their intellectual growth was stunted by the world they grew up in. Thus chaos ensues, sometimes for the stupidest of reasons, but largely blindly and at a breakneck pace. People and events shuttle between London, Sydney and Los Angeles (you’d never be able to tell, seeing as everyone taxis between malls). As the ultimate climax unfolds at identical malls continents apart, it is at times confusing keeping track of everyone and everything. Frenetic, like the consumer world of trends and gadgets. Barry, though, is a skilled storyteller. He rarely misses a beat in the midst of the chaos soup he cooked up.

I like JG, and I like Barry. Always have, probably always will, unless he himself contracts tunnel vision. I have faith that will never happen. When one reads a book like Jennifer Government, one becomes keenly aware only a writer with self-reflection could possibly satire and lampoon so much without actually disagreeing with its core principles. The only negative I might extract from this creme-colored, papercutting tooth is that the pace was at times jarring, creating confusion where a breather would have solved the pace. Also at times, one of the main protagonists seems to spin his wheels with nonsense until the story needs him. Sounds a lot like spending time at a mall.
V
Jennifer Government is a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller that kept me engrossed from a little after the beginning, all the way to the end. I say "a little after the beginning" because, when I first began reading it seemed to me that the writing style was somewhat simplistic and very heavy-handed. For example, many of the character expositions early on were very blunt—"She was smart. She was an entrepreneur." Rather than illustrate these traits they were listed off in a lazy-feeling way. L Jennifer Government is a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat thriller that kept me engrossed from a little after the beginning, all the way to the end. I say "a little after the beginning" because, when I first began reading it seemed to me that the writing style was somewhat simplistic and very heavy-handed. For example, many of the character expositions early on were very blunt—"She was smart. She was an entrepreneur." Rather than illustrate these traits they were listed off in a lazy-feeling way. Luckily, beyond the first few pages, the world of the story begins to peek through and the writing more nuanced. Beyond this sentence be spoilers.

** spoiler alert **
The book is set in a sort of anarcho-capitalist or anarcho-syndicalist future somewhat remniscient of the setting of Snow Crash. Both books feature a world in which corporations have replaced nations as the intermediaries which facilitate community. In Jennifer Government, however, it is very clear that these corporations have no interests beyond pure profit. Their incorrigible demand for money is well-illustrated early on in the murderous marketing campaigns employed by the books antagonist, John Nike.

This brings me to an aside: my interest in Jennifer Government was piqued when I had read that the character's surnames correspond to their employers. This idea fascinated me; how could humanity ever arrive at the point where we are willing to give up the name of our family to the highest bidder? Having the characters assume the name of their company as their surname was an ingenious way to show that, in this book's society, the focal point of community and the source of identity is the almighty corporation.

In a similar vein, employees of the government were aptly given the surname "Government" (much like the titular character). This was an aspect of the book's in-world society that I would have loved to see probed more deeply. For example, the American Government seems to be funded through taxes only for _prevention_ of crimes; actually pursuing a suspect of a crime after-the-fact results in a request by the government for funding. That's right, the government would come to your door and ask for money to pursue a criminal that robbed you. There is a passing mention that in France and other European countries, the government has significantly more funding due to much higher taxes. Still, there is no talk of the derivation of the government's authority, even when it is challenged towards the end of the book. How is the government able to levy taxes in the first place? Why haven't the corporations formed a larger, all-encompassing coalition to eliminate taxation and privatize all services once and for all? These and other questions could be explored, if not in this book, then in a series.

(_maybe_ more to come)
Susan
Started out really well. Sharp execution and a promising premise, though rather hard to read in the sense that ORYNX AND CRAKE and EARTHSEED were difficult readings -- the "take the flaws in society and amplify them in your face until you can't ignore them anymore" sort of difficulty. So on that front, for the first half of the book, I was ready to give this 4 or 5 stars.

Where it really started to fall apart for me was when the romance subplots were introduced. The Violet thing I'll accept, but Started out really well. Sharp execution and a promising premise, though rather hard to read in the sense that ORYNX AND CRAKE and EARTHSEED were difficult readings -- the "take the flaws in society and amplify them in your face until you can't ignore them anymore" sort of difficulty. So on that front, for the first half of the book, I was ready to give this 4 or 5 stars.

Where it really started to fall apart for me was when the romance subplots were introduced. The Violet thing I'll accept, but the government agent answering call from man involved in an open case who's calling because he couldn't figure out how to use a gun to shoot himself, and then showing up and promptly having sex with the man, and then leaving her daughter, the most important person in her life, in the care of the man who failed suicide through sheer incompetency within 24 hours of sex was just...wow. OKAY THEN. I would've accepted this as a commentary on the degradation of relationship in this dystopia but I get the impression the author was playing this straight, so....

Am so mad at Billy's ending. There were so many loose ends that weren't wrapped up by the end of the book, and in the second half of the book the women in the book became more and more defined by the men around them (whereas the reverse was not true, though that could be just because there were more male POV than females) (but there was more than one female POV, can you imaging?). I mean on the whole the author wrote women really well, I was really impressed with the first half of the book, and on the scale of scifi-dystopia canons his handling of female characters is probably within the top 10%...I just...have read a lot of female authors at this point and so have higher standards.

On the whole, very worthwhile reading experience, though will probably not re-read.

The premise is SO GOOD and our world is full of Hack Nike and Billy (not Bill) NRA.
SpookySoto
This is an unusual, different and interesting novel. It's a dystopian society where capitalism and consumerism dictate everything in life. You are your job, the people don't even have a last name anymore, they take the name of the company they work for. To be unemployed is a disgrace greater than being a murderer.

All is moved by money. You have to pay the government if you want justice, you can hire the police to make a contract kill, if you don't have money you can't get an ambulance. This is a This is an unusual, different and interesting novel. It's a dystopian society where capitalism and consumerism dictate everything in life. You are your job, the people don't even have a last name anymore, they take the name of the company they work for. To be unemployed is a disgrace greater than being a murderer.

All is moved by money. You have to pay the government if you want justice, you can hire the police to make a contract kill, if you don't have money you can't get an ambulance. This is an example that had me thinking that today's healthcare system is certainly (and sadly) coming to this:

"Sir, I need to know if the victim is part of our register. If she's one of our clients, we'll be there within a few minutes. Otherwise I'm happy to recommend-"
"I need an ambulance. I'll pay for it, I don't care, just come!"
"Do you have a credit card, sir?"
"Yes! Send someone now!"
"As soon as I confirm your ability to pay, sir. This will only take a few seconds."

I also think this book reflects the lost of ethics, roughness and savage politics of some corporate environments, where talent and hard work have little to do with success, and people are often used, manipulated, exploited and then discarded when they aren't needed anymore. People are just products.

The novel raises interesting ethical and moral questions that makes you think about the extreme consumerism that governs our everyday life. It has an ensamble of characters with storylines that interweave between them. The chapters are short and that makes it very fast paced. I liked it, I'll probably try another book from Barry.

Bingo #25, Protagonista con tu misma carrera
Jami
This was a 3.5-3.75 for me. There were parts and characters I really liked, and parts and characters that I found a little boring. I have never read anything like this before, so I like the uniqueness; I found parts funny, but I didn't find it as humorous overall as many other reviewers. This book definitely isn't for everyone and not quite what I expected. I am thinking that I agree with the author in his note when he mentions his friend who thought the book should have been called "Capitalizm; This was a 3.5-3.75 for me. There were parts and characters I really liked, and parts and characters that I found a little boring. I have never read anything like this before, so I like the uniqueness; I found parts funny, but I didn't find it as humorous overall as many other reviewers. This book definitely isn't for everyone and not quite what I expected. I am thinking that I agree with the author in his note when he mentions his friend who thought the book should have been called "Capitalizm;" and yes, with the "z" spelling. I actually think that is a more fitting title, given the theme of corporate greed.

What I really liked were some of they dystopian themes pertaining to the way police operate and their role in this society; the concept of criminals having to directly arrange payments to their victims as punishment; only being able to get an ambulance if you are a client (or have a valid credit card); other countries being USA countries; the two huge corporate loyalty programs; and the abolishment of taxes and the resulting effects.

What didn't resonate with me: the action was slow at times; there were too many characters, so most didn't feel fully developed; and a few of the characters weren't memorable, so I had to flip back in the book to remember who they were.
Michelle
(Audiobook). Well, that's it...I have got to stop reading these kinds of books. I've always been a fan of dystopian fiction (though I wouldn't necessarily put this book firmly in that category), but now that we're catching the live act via the New Trump Order, sponsored by the last gasp of the Republican Party (Now, with more evil!), reading about society self-immolating just isn't as much fun. In fact, it's fucking depressing. And this book is so spot on. I have zero trouble seeing this as pred (Audiobook). Well, that's it...I have got to stop reading these kinds of books. I've always been a fan of dystopian fiction (though I wouldn't necessarily put this book firmly in that category), but now that we're catching the live act via the New Trump Order, sponsored by the last gasp of the Republican Party (Now, with more evil!), reading about society self-immolating just isn't as much fun. In fact, it's fucking depressing. And this book is so spot on. I have zero trouble seeing this as predictive, rather than speculative. The corporations are already soulless (despite counting as people, legally), and the competition is fierce. And they've been killing their customers for decades, after all. It's not much of a stretch to imagine them shaking off the last vestiges of their ability to feel shame, and just going balls to the wall. Much of government is already bought and paid for. And a large percentage of the population is one insane Black Friday deal away from voting this book's premise right into reality. Which, actually, is kind of what they've already done. Aw, Christ, I need a drink. Listen, it's a good book. Just make sure you've got a comedy on deck for after. And some tequila.
Dan Keating
I think, in retrospect, that reading "Jennifer Government" directly after reading "Brave New World" wasn't the most ingenuous idea possible. Jennifer Government, while depicting a horrifying dystopia like Brave New World, does so for a modern audience. It lacks Brave New World's timelessness and is about as subtle as getting punched in the face, but once you step back from it you realize that's part of it's intelligence.

From the beginning, Jennifer Government seemed like kind of an immature book I think, in retrospect, that reading "Jennifer Government" directly after reading "Brave New World" wasn't the most ingenuous idea possible. Jennifer Government, while depicting a horrifying dystopia like Brave New World, does so for a modern audience. It lacks Brave New World's timelessness and is about as subtle as getting punched in the face, but once you step back from it you realize that's part of it's intelligence.

From the beginning, Jennifer Government seemed like kind of an immature book. The writing was passable, in the way that contemporary third person novels that mostly eschew style and only commit to slight variations in voice in the narration often are. The ideas seemed a little adolescent - from changing the word capitalism to "capitalizm" to changing peoples' name structures so that each person's last name is the name of the company they work for, Jennifer Government appears thinly veiled. Add in the oft-times comedic stupidity of several of the main characters (in particular, Billy's complete lack of common sense is reinforced in pretty much every passage he appears in) and you have something that feels like it's trying to poke fun more than seriously analyze or satirize.

But what is the primary issue with a world obsessed with profit and corporate consumerism? Infantilization. In order to make people more susceptible the a world without substance, they are made to be more like children. Shades of Brave New World again, only here - rather than a society designed to be unintelligent by the intelligent - Max Barry gives us a world in which even the upper echelons of society have fallen prey to their own anti-intellectualism. The result? Mass stupidity and a prevalence of egregious personality disorders. In particular, main character John's narcissistic personality is way, way overblown - appropriately, given that he lives in a society where that disorder is not only spawned, but encouraged to grow. Indeed, the more involved in himself John is, the more successful he becomes.

The characterization is a bit difficult to pin down. Many of the main characters experience only peripheral changes - Billy in particular comes full circle, managing to get out of the series of events of which he never wanted to be a part at the end, having learned and changed very little. John, too, is a bit of a wash; he's played up as being evil almost beyond comparison, and is left in a situation that is perhaps meant to be satisfying to the reader but ultimately isn't. And Hayley - spolier alert! - dies extremely soon in the novel, which leads me to believe that she was only narrated so that the reader would develop a connection and so feel bad along with Buy when he was unable to save her life - a case of women in refrigerators syndrome for the literary crowd.

Really, though, it is Buy who is the most interesting character in the novel and whose silly incompetency - attempting to kill himself only to realize he couldn't get the gun to fire, and then calling a Government agent to ask her how to get it to fire - is probably the most forgivable; especially as he later admits it was more of a plea for help than an honest call to find out how to work the gun. His journey - from a mild stockbroker to a suicidal incapable of figuring out how he'd cared about his shallow existence to a loving adoptive father - is the most emotional one undertaken in the novel, and while it isn't terribly deep, his story feels the most complete of all the characters in the novel.

And then there's Jennifer herself. Really the problem with her is that there isn't enough of her in the novel. We get snippets of her backstory and find out - spoiler alert again! - that she'd been a successful marketing executive until she'd gotten pregnant and decided she wanted to keep the baby, which the father, John, didn't want to keep. However, we don't actually see any of that - nor do we really see her as the wunderkid marketing executive she had been, nor do we see any of her transformation from said wunderkid marketing executive to the tough-as-nails, throw-the-book-out-the-window, gun wielding Government agent she is throughout the novel. Too much of Jennifer's story is left out of the novel for her to be a truly effective character. She has her moments, but ultimately, this does not feel like her complete story.

Characters aside, the overall theme of Jennifer Government speaks to the idea of de-regulation in a corporate-controlled world - one in which we already live, by the way, but which hasn't grown to the proportions Barry envisions. Ultimately - spoiler alert, one more time! - the various corporations decide that a completely unregulated market doesn't suit them, because without someone to keep people from running around hurting each other all the time there wouldn't be business, just anarchy. Even small government enthusiasts will have to admit a point here - oftentimes, the idea behind reducing or removing the government is that in doing so, society will self-regulate moral judgments, but a society which has abandoned morality for greed and empty consumerism wouldn't self-regulate at all.

In the end, Barry doesn't explore the social repercussions of the novel's events at all. It definitely feels like a more character driven parable and that's reinforced by the lack of exploration of the aftermath - I was left wondering how society and the Government rebound from everything, but there's nothing really to speak to it.

If you're looking for a fun read - Jennifer Government is pretty fun. If you're looking for something universal, look elsewhere - Jennifer Government is pretty firm in it's politics and, despite my statements above, will probably offend the more laissez-faire crowd at some point. And lastly, if you're looking for something deep - you're probably not going to find it here, but if you dig a little you can appreciate what Barry was doing.
Robin Kirk
Disclaimer: I'm a huge Barry fan. This novel is extremely well-done, hilarious, disturbing and all too relevant in the current dystopia we're living in the Cheeto's America. "In the near future," the main characters have surnames provided by the companies that employ them -- and own them, through punitive contracts and the kind of non-disclosure agreements the current president employs to keep his misdeeds hidden. Every bit of life is mediated by a savage "capitalizm" that requires crime victims Disclaimer: I'm a huge Barry fan. This novel is extremely well-done, hilarious, disturbing and all too relevant in the current dystopia we're living in the Cheeto's America. "In the near future," the main characters have surnames provided by the companies that employ them -- and own them, through punitive contracts and the kind of non-disclosure agreements the current president employs to keep his misdeeds hidden. Every bit of life is mediated by a savage "capitalizm" that requires crime victims to pay the security forces if they want justice done. The world is not run by autocracies like Atwood's Gilead or a Max Maxian strong man, but by the dueling credit card rewards programs that can bring even non-consumer oriented corporations like Boeing to its knees. A great read.
Heather Sinclair
A future where countries aren't countries, they're corporations? Maybe that's not too far off...
What I really liked about Jennifer Government was the rich world portrayed, and the details about how things would work if corporations really did replace governments. Sure, everyone knows that the private sector is WAY more efficient than the public sector. But what would happen if profits actually came before human wellbeing in every aspect of life?
The characters in Jennifer Government were fun to A future where countries aren't countries, they're corporations? Maybe that's not too far off...
What I really liked about Jennifer Government was the rich world portrayed, and the details about how things would work if corporations really did replace governments. Sure, everyone knows that the private sector is WAY more efficient than the public sector. But what would happen if profits actually came before human wellbeing in every aspect of life?
The characters in Jennifer Government were fun to love and fun to hate, but I found that Jennifer herself lacked some depth. Maybe it was because I wanted her to be even more badass than she was? I don't know.
Anyway, this is recommended for fans of dystopian futures and a crime stories. Also for those who like butt-kicking female leads.
Dany Le Goaix
A lighter updated version of Catch22 with the theme of capitalism run rampant, and with Trump in power it's scarily relatable. A fast plot chalk full of great ideas, hilarious dialogue but one dimensional characters and crazy unbelievable coincidences. For instance you have to pay for 911 service by credit card, schools are privatized and run by McDonalds, your surnames is the company you work for thus Jennifer Government, police are only paid to prevent crime; you need to pay for the police to A lighter updated version of Catch22 with the theme of capitalism run rampant, and with Trump in power it's scarily relatable. A fast plot chalk full of great ideas, hilarious dialogue but one dimensional characters and crazy unbelievable coincidences. For instance you have to pay for 911 service by credit card, schools are privatized and run by McDonalds, your surnames is the company you work for thus Jennifer Government, police are only paid to prevent crime; you need to pay for the police to investigate a crime. Corporations are only here to make every possible ounce of profit to the detriment of its employees and consumers. A real eye opener of where the US could be in 30 years ....
Векослав Стефановски
Rampant consumerism gone awry, in a world where your job is actually your last name, and murder in a line of business is more like a bold marketing move than an inconsiderable crime - so basically, like the current American situation, only more so :)

The characters are a bit shallow, and a bit stupid, and the microcosm effect is really strong - the dozen or so characters keep bumping into each other across the globe - but the action is extremely fast-paced, so this book is a real page-turner. Don Rampant consumerism gone awry, in a world where your job is actually your last name, and murder in a line of business is more like a bold marketing move than an inconsiderable crime - so basically, like the current American situation, only more so :)

The characters are a bit shallow, and a bit stupid, and the microcosm effect is really strong - the dozen or so characters keep bumping into each other across the globe - but the action is extremely fast-paced, so this book is a real page-turner. Don't expect to be attracted to any of the characters though, they run the gamut from lousy human beings to straight-up assholes.
Jennifer Seyfried
I was hooked from the very beginning. The chapters are fairly short and each one switches POV to a different main character. It moves pretty fast so try to keep up! In this not to far off future, and not to far fetched either, everyone's last name is the corporation they work for, hence Jennifer Government is a government agent. The Government is playing second fiddle to the corporations, even more blatantly than it does now, and yet Jennifer is going to take down John Nike no matter what it tak I was hooked from the very beginning. The chapters are fairly short and each one switches POV to a different main character. It moves pretty fast so try to keep up! In this not to far off future, and not to far fetched either, everyone's last name is the corporation they work for, hence Jennifer Government is a government agent. The Government is playing second fiddle to the corporations, even more blatantly than it does now, and yet Jennifer is going to take down John Nike no matter what it takes. Will Nike overthrow the government once and for all and rule the world? Not if Jennifer has a say. And beware a pissed off Jennifer.
Victoria
Even though I had a bit of trouble keeping up with who was whom in this amusing book, by the end, I was truly captivated by the characters. I liked the heroes and really disliked the bad guys, although almost everyone was a villain in some way.

Of course, the comparison to one of my favorite sci-fi novels, Space Merchants, was impossible. I did not get as many laughs from Jennifer Government because the close parallel to our control by greedy corporations was so very real. All we need are the bra Even though I had a bit of trouble keeping up with who was whom in this amusing book, by the end, I was truly captivated by the characters. I liked the heroes and really disliked the bad guys, although almost everyone was a villain in some way.

Of course, the comparison to one of my favorite sci-fi novels, Space Merchants, was impossible. I did not get as many laughs from Jennifer Government because the close parallel to our control by greedy corporations was so very real. All we need are the branding by sir name.

I hope to read more by Max Barry, and I plan to find a copy of Space Merchants to read again.
Ryan
Alright, I'll admit it. I originally picked up this book because it was being advertised on a text-based browser game my friends and I were hooked on in high school, called Nation States (I believe).

I found it to be very entertaining and incredibly thought-provoking. Max Barry creates a world where corporatism has run amok and while some of the central themes may be brought down heavy-handed, I believe there is some to gleam from the possible ramifications of allowing too much of our society to Alright, I'll admit it. I originally picked up this book because it was being advertised on a text-based browser game my friends and I were hooked on in high school, called Nation States (I believe).

I found it to be very entertaining and incredibly thought-provoking. Max Barry creates a world where corporatism has run amok and while some of the central themes may be brought down heavy-handed, I believe there is some to gleam from the possible ramifications of allowing too much of our society to become engrossed with corporate interests.
Susan
I read this book years ago and at that time would have rated it 5 stars. It shows you want a decade or 2 can do. This book was still enjoyable. A madcap, fast-pace riot (in some cases literally). A frightening look at consumerism and capitalism where money is the goal. Jennifer Government has a code of morality different to most, but ultimately even her altruistic actions have motivations rooted in self interest.
I do like the high intensity of the book and the easily digestible language.
Fun, m I read this book years ago and at that time would have rated it 5 stars. It shows you want a decade or 2 can do. This book was still enjoyable. A madcap, fast-pace riot (in some cases literally). A frightening look at consumerism and capitalism where money is the goal. Jennifer Government has a code of morality different to most, but ultimately even her altruistic actions have motivations rooted in self interest.
I do like the high intensity of the book and the easily digestible language.
Fun, maybe the best reason to read a book.
Ali Murphy
A fascinating concept and great commentary on the world of advertising and marketing today. The satire lost its edge for me when it veered off into male fantasy world with guns and hot chicks. I read Lexicon a few years ago and remember Barry’s style being more polished (although there were gaps in that story too) and can’t help but wonder if his execution of this story would have been different with some more experience under his belt. Nonetheless it was a funny escapist read and insightful in A fascinating concept and great commentary on the world of advertising and marketing today. The satire lost its edge for me when it veered off into male fantasy world with guns and hot chicks. I read Lexicon a few years ago and remember Barry’s style being more polished (although there were gaps in that story too) and can’t help but wonder if his execution of this story would have been different with some more experience under his belt. Nonetheless it was a funny escapist read and insightful in many ways.
Suzanne
I liked the idea based on the description but never felt like I could buy (pun intended) into the world. It just didn't make as much sense as it could have with some additional world building. Gaps in plausibility of the police and government's reactions and actions could have been explained by how the world got there as opposed to just letting the read accept that it is this way. It was just a little too far without the development needed for me.
Zach
This is not as good as the very similar Snow Crash - although someone like John Nike would have been a good addition. However, I liked it more than several other books in the genre of "giant corporations control the near future" - Gibson's stuff and Daniel Suarez's Daemon come to mind. The writing style is kind of weird and very clipped, but that makes for a fast, enjoyable read and that's precisely what this novel is.
Gold
An entertaining and exciting dystopian story in which capitalism rules and government is very small. A bit confusing at times, keeping track of all the characters. Minor complaints: The book has more cussing in it than it needs to, and I think it should've explained how Hack turned into a communist seemingly overnight.
Aviva
Such a weird premise -- corporations run the country and the world. There are no laws really, at least they aren't enforced unless someone wants to pay the bill to catch the crooks and prosecute them. And your surname is whatever company you work for.

But it really kept my attention once I accepted the premise and stopped rolling my eyes at it. (Hard to read when you're rolling your eyes ...) And I didn't want to put it down for the last half.

SPE
Funny and fascinating glimpse into the corporatization of the world. It takes the battle of the brands to a new level.

I'd give this a four star because it was so much fun to read and so insightful, if it weren't for a few superflous odds and ends. None of them are damaging to the overall impact of the book. The characters are well drawn.

I recommend this .
Chase Peter Josef
My first experience with Max Barry, and possibly the reason I went back to writing, this is an example of a both classically structured and innovative style of writing, with an immersive and intense world that makes this an amazing read.

Literally, went out and bought the rest of his works, now its that pesky time to read them....
Jennifer
I bought this at least partially for the title as I used to be a "Jennifer Government." It is set in a future time where corporations rule the world. Corporations are so dominant that humans take on the last name of the entity for which they work. Jennifer Government has to battle against John Nike, Violet ExxonMobile, and others. Very entertaining satire, and I will read more by Max Barry.
Rose NIght
Everyone in this book is either stupid or naive in some way, at some point, and yet this made the book good instead of bad.

If you're looking for a light read stylistically, yet a darkly funny and heavy political / corporate alt-history, read this book.
Danyel
I like the creepy world that Max Barry imagined; police services are for hire and global conglomerates have run amok. I do wish the characters were better developed. This story also worked to make consumerism laughable instead of scary and damaging. Worth a read though.
Stephen Mann
You know when you pick up a book at random, and then you're incapable of stopping reading it until it's done? That was me with Jennifer Government -- innovative, gripping and hilarious from the first page to the last.
Matt A
A silly misunderstanding of the interaction between government and market forces. Did Barry take economics from an autistic extraterrestrial insect colony? This work has no bearing on economic law in our reality.

If you allow people to make free choices - you are not ruling them.
If you coerce people into making decisions - you are ruling them.

Government = some ruling others; the individual is squashed for the benefit of the master plan
Market = nobody rules another; the master plan is squashed fo A silly misunderstanding of the interaction between government and market forces. Did Barry take economics from an autistic extraterrestrial insect colony? This work has no bearing on economic law in our reality.

If you allow people to make free choices - you are not ruling them.
If you coerce people into making decisions - you are ruling them.

Government = some ruling others; the individual is squashed for the benefit of the master plan
Market = nobody rules another; the master plan is squashed for the benefit of the individual

This is not a Randian wet dream or a capitalist utopia. It's a hellscape. This world that Barry has crafted can only exist through coercive rule enforced at gunpoint. How in the blue blazes does that mesh in any way with free market principles?

Spoiler alert: it doesn't, of course.
Philnotfil
This was a fun read. I was a little disappointed with which side came out on top at the end, I think Barry chickened out a little there. NSFW language, but I would highly recommend it to anyone not bothered by that.
Travis Heldibridle
Some of the elements make it feel a little quirky as you start to read it, but it pretty quickly pulls you into it's universe and spins an interesting story. Overall, I was very pleased. It was a great look at "cyberpunk" minus the cyber.
Katie Adee
An interesting twist on how the world might be if the American dream of spreading capitalism to the world succeeds. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Andrew Einspruch
Really enjoyed this one, along with Lexicon. Barry is a very interesting writer.
Kale
Interesting idea for a capitalist dystopia, but poorly executed. Characters were dimentionless and the only speaking verb Barry literally ever used was "said."
Katherine
I could not get into this book. The story line just did not grab me. I might have gotten a 1/3 of the way into the book. I just don't care what happens to the characters.
Myke Edwards
Clever and well-written, but at time predictable. Still worth reading.
Olivia
This needs to be made into a movie. Super fun read.
Jörg
Recht spannend mit einigen guten Idee - und oft nicht mehr so weit weg von der Realität. Das Ende fällt ein bisschen ab finde ich, aber trotzdem sehr unterhaltsam.
Erica
Brilliant concept. Clunky execution. Still liked it.
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