If you’re over 2021 already, how about jet-packing into 2054? Or perhaps not, because as this delightfully absurd novel reveals, we humans will have locked ourselves out of the internet by then, and if you’re wondering where the moon is, Elon Musk incinerated it. Meanwhile, it’s androids like our affable narrator, Jared, that are trapped in the role of second-class citizens. But Jared has developed feelings, and with them a plan to end the oppression of his fellow bots. His weapon? The movies, of course.
Pathos, comedy, satire (there is no moon in Jared’s time since Elon Musk blew it up), a car-chase, The Great American Zero Sum game, daftness, a nefarious nemesis, what it means to be human (memory? emotion? reason? always making the wrong decisions?), a ghost section, parodies, anger, and a shining sense of the novel being ultimately a machine that makes humans a little more human if possible. It is probably too ebullient to be taken seriously for prizes.
One particular bot, our narrator Jared, embarks on a mission to change humans’ negative view of bots, after he breaks the rules of science and develops feelings. It’s a bizarre premise told yet more bizarrely — Jared has a distinctive yet often grating narrative voice. Luckily the plot is gripping and, if you can wade through the terrible bot jokes, there are some genuinely funny lines, such as when Jared makes fun of the human love of “diverting spectacles with an obviously phallic component” (aka skyscrapers and hot-dog-eating contests).