I can't properly review this book because it's already been done here:
Also I listened to it which to some people is not the same as reading and sometimes you are right and sometimes you are very wrong. I am not a very sophisticated reader. I like watching histrionic interpretations of Shakespeare because when I read it without an instructor or a buddy to guide me, I miss out A LOT. So here are the bits about the story I enjoyed most:
- Information Overload - The reader did a great job of acting out all the information overload chapters, it helped me notice how advertising, no matter how myopic you are, enters into our subconsciousness and organizes our thoughts. For advertising to be most effective, we cannot give ourselves a moment to pause and consider what we are buying into. Also in the face of having everything available to us, we are all miserable.
- Mucker - People who commit random acts of violence. Similar to our homegrown terrorists in America. A commentary on the disintegration of society as people feel abandoned by society and react violently. Similar story line with the rise of incest.
- BIotechnology and Babies - The newest trend in biotechnology is tailoring your drugs to suit your unique genetics. So maybe we are not too far away from this reality what with some personal genomic information available for $99 and a spit sample (just a year ago it was $400). Religion and overpopulation clash as the people who have multiple children are the target of the genetically flawed who are prohibited by law from having children. We don't have those sorts of laws but we do one way to dissuade people from having children is to make childcare prohibitively expensive.
- Corporations vs. Controlling Governments - Lots of ennui from Norman, a VP in a firm called General Technic (reminds me a lot of today's GE). If you ever felt useless in your big corporate job, Norman is your guy. He rises quickly in the ranks but is dissatisfied because although he is busy he realizes he has no purpose. Until he is approached with the possibility of helping a small country in Africa by swaying GT to setup and develop the country and thus end rampant famine and poverty. On the other end of the earth, a small southeast asian country, Yatakang, suffers from a controlling government so Donald is sent to uncover their plan to take over the world, one perfect baby at a time. In one case, espionage and military tactics were used to ensure the balance of power remained in the U.S. In the other, a large corporation was approached to use the countries natural resources in exchange for developing the country. Which option works out best? What is the human cost? Can we bring our technology without bringing the other problems of our society? How do we help developing countries? By espionage or monetary coercion or full-out war? In an overpopulated world, what is the cost of human life?