enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: Matt Ruff, Sewer, Gas & Electric

I read this book about 20-Jul-2003. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1997. This note was last modified Saturday, 29-Jul-2006 08:58:32 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.


The subtitle is "The Public Works Trilogy"; though I don't think there really are three pieces, or it was ever published in separate chunks. I don't remember hearing much about his previous novel Fool On the Hill.

This has one of the more spectacular sets of cover quotes I've seen—Thomas Pynchon on the front, Neal Stephenson on the back. Plus the San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle.

Seems very Stephensonian to me so far. Remember that I'm not a big fan of Stephenson. But Stephenson sometimes, and Ruff so far, is doing it well enough that it keeps me reading, anyway.

The cover features the World Trade Center towers, and the backstory includes the Empire State Building being demolished when it's struck by an airplane. I suspect these features make a lot of people rather uncomfortable when they look at it these days.

Okay, reached the end, and it looks like it has more cohesiveness than Stephenson manages, which is good. I find I care more about the characters, too.

It has artificial intelligence, and mutated rats, mile-high building, conspiracy theories, and alligators in the sewers, and parents, and Ayn Rand, civil war veterans, and .70 caliber handguns, and even Boy Scouts. Also a glimpse of what might be heaven, but of course the person involved chooses to leave.

I'd recommend this, if you like this sort of thing. It's good enough of its kind that even I enjoyed it considerably, and I don't particularly like this sort of thing.

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David Dyer-Bennet