Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dewey Decimal Dystopia

The Dewey Decimal SystemThe Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Our setting: post-apocalyptic New York. "2/14" has overshadowed "9/11," although we don't know exactly what happened or why, just that most of the bridges are destroyed and the City is now a sparsely populated ruin of its former self.

Our protagonist: Dewey Decimal. So named because he plans to spend the rest of his days re-organizing the books in the New York Public Library. He gets his supplies from the DA, a recoil-inducing opportunist who sends Decimal out to get rid of inconvenient characters.  Librarian/hitman hybrids aren't common characters in dystopian fiction, but Decimal is more than just that. He's paranoid like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory, he's a germophobe constantly thinking about using Purell, and he speaks Serbian, Ukrainian, and who knows how many other obscure languages. He also ascribes a mysterious importance to "the System," (thus completing the title's play on words).  The System -- which mandates, for instance, that he make only left-hand turns before noon -- makes Decimal's life pretty difficult, but he believes it keeps him safe.

This book is written like a pulp detective novel, but set in the dystopian future.
That pulp cliché, the oldest of the old, the most tired of all tired phrases comes to me. But I dig the truth at its core. When in doubt, look for the girl. Cherchez la femme.
That dystopian-pulp combination, like the OCD-librarian-hitman, took some getting used to, but it kept me entertained and was unlike anything I've read before. Neither of those is my favorite genre, but if one is yours, I recommend you check this out.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dyspulpian fiction perhaps?

Reader One said...

I like it!