Oct 7, 2008

Terraplane by Jack Womack


I know I'm not doing myself any favors by reading Womack's work out of order, but he writes well enough that I get along regardless. Once again, as I said when I read Elvissey, Womack is that rare author that manages to twist language until it truly does sound evolved but not overly contrived. "Why aren't we knived?" asks the killer Jake at dinner. Nouns into verbs and back again - once you get the flow, it's worth riding.

And once again Womack delves into race and the American history thereof, into corporate ownership (no stretch to think of the Coke company owning and branding their workers), into what happens when you twist just here and here and then see what comes out of the culture. He's sort of the less-techy-obsessed William Gibson.

As a guy fairly obsessed with personal liberty and keeping as much corporate bullshit out of my life as possible, his future seems mighty damn bleak in a very WalMart sort of way. On the other hand, I'm a white man in the '00s, not a black person dealing with the hate and oppression this country's doled out for a couple hundred years. To Norman and Wanda, the idea of almost-equality goes a long way toward making up for other flaws in the Dryco age.

final thought: It's all about loyalty and what that means in the face of ownership, relationships, love, brotherhood, military comradeship, political ties. Who are you loyal to? Do they deserve it?

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