Monday, December 22, 2008

Book/Magazine Review: The Situation by Jeff Vandermeer

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite-sized book/magazine reviews.

I'm a big fan of both Jeff Vandermeer and PS Publishing so imagine my surprise when I found a copy of The Situation in my hard drive, a giveaway from Wired earlier this year that I had downloaded but forgotten, mainly because it wasn't in my immediate must-be-read-for-review-or-else-we'll-send-ninjas queue. The first scene immediately hooked me, evoking an atmosphere of the New Weird as corporate drones created insects that crawled into your ears and conjured nightmares, all the while being quite readable instead of the overwhelming details that characterizes China Mieville's New Crobuzon novels.

The fiction is presented in short burst of scenes, each one as evocative and compelling as the one that preceded it. The bizarreness of it all seems like the perfect analog to the corporate environment where one slaves away their time working for rich employers although in this case, it is filtered through the lens of the surreal and the fantastic. Vandermeer is consistent all throughout, creating apt analogies for the toxic workplace. Aside from that, it's a quick, fun read and if nothing else, an enjoyable Fuck You to the incompetents at the work place. Definitely an accessible book to those unfamiliar with Vandermeer's fiction.

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