Cannonball Read IV: Machine Man by Max Barry
In Machine Man, engineer Dr. Charles Neumann (get it? new-man. lol) crushes his leg in a gruesome workplace accident. He gets the idea to improve upon the leg’s biological design while building his prosthetic. The only problem? that other “fleshy” leg he has left is holding him back. So begins Charles’ obsession with bodily improvement through science, engineering and amputation.
Just like in Barry’s previous excellent books Jennifer Government and Company, he creates a shallow yet philosophical world where large corporate bosses aren’t referred to by real names, only titles, and corporations exist outside the boundaries of law. The story is absurd at one turn and frighteningly possible in another. If Charles works on his prosthetic leg at work, who owns it, Charles or the company?
There’s also amputee love, bionic security guards and tiny dogs dressed in human clothes. It would be impossible for me to NOT like this book. The pacing is fast and the ending is satisfying. Barry wrote the script 1 page a day, posting each page on his website for his rabid followers to discuss and dissect. They helped him with everything from technical details to story line. Kind of like commentators helping bloggers write…good.
Be sure to check out Machine Man’s book trailer below.
Most highlighted quote from Kindle users:
“It was pointless to ponder who I was because I was whichever combination of chemicals happened to be sloshing around at that time. So I decided not to search for a true self. I decided to choose who I wanted to be.”
If you like anything from Joshua Ferris, you’ll like this.
Movie note: Darren Aronofsky, one of this generation’s greatest directors and hipster clothing fashonista is attached to direct while Mark Heyman (Black Swan) is adapting the screenplay. I haven’t seen any news lately, and Aronofsky keeps himself pretty busy, so I’m not sure where everything’s at right now.
For more of toepic’s reviews, check out his blog, Barely Literary.
(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the amazon.com affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)
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