December 28, 2007


TransmissionCalvin gave me Transmission by Hari Kunzru for Christmas. In this story, psychologically stressed Arjun Mehta unleashes an extremely devastating virus onto the Internet which leads to a cascade of events he can no longer control. The book received some decent praise, but I found it somewhat dated and exaggerated. No doubt in 2004, when it was published, a lot of the ideas and slang Kunzru used would have been considered hip by the typically unaware critics, but I didn't find the "name dropping" that appealing. I refer to it that way because terms like RL are tossed out once but the overall tone of narration and its characters don't speak using that sort of vocabulary.

I was also disappointed with how the characters' plot lines were woven together and with the conclusion. It's not atypical for an author to begin a story with characters in different locations and plot lines, but Kunzru never actually brings those plot lines together in any meaningful way. Guy Swift, Leela, and Gaby really don't matter and are only there to provide some additional characters and interest. But they never drive the plot forward. And in the end, everything is wrapped up in an afterward-like concluding chapter that tries to explain what happened to everyone years later. But it's told from the perspective of someone who doesn't know, which sucks since the whole book was placing you next to those characters up until that point.

Posted by josuah at December 28, 2007 11:30 AM UTC+00:00

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