Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone – 3 Stars

Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
Click on cover to visit book’s Goodreads page

I borrowed a copy of this book from my library.  Visit yours for this and other great titles for free!

Book Synopsis from Goodreads:

When the Internet suddenly stops working, society reels from the loss of flowing data, instant messages, and streaming entertainment. Addicts wander the streets, talking to themselves in 140 characters or forcing cats to perform tricks for their amusement, while the truly desperate pin their requests for casual encounters on public bulletin boards. The economy tumbles further and the government passes the draconian NET Recovery Act.

For Gladstone, the Net’s disappearance comes particularly hard following the loss of his wife, leaving his flask of Jamesons and grandfather’s fedora as the only comforts in his Brooklyn apartment. But there are rumors that someone in New York is still online. Someone set apart from this new world where Facebook flirters “poke” each other in real life and members of Anonymous trade memes at secret parties. Where a former librarian can sell information as a human search engine, and the perverted fulfill their secret fetishes at the blossoming Rule 34 club. With the help of his friends, a blogger and a webcam girl both now out of work, Gladstone sets off to find the Internet. But is he the right man to save humanity from this Apocalypse?

For fans of David Wong, Chad Kultgen, and Chuck Palahniuk, Wayne Gladstone’s Notes from the Internet Apocalypse examines the question “What is life without the Web?”

I suggested this book to be added to the collection at the library where I work.  The idea behind the story looked really interesting to me and personally I couldn’t wait to read it.  So after it was cataloged I checked it out before any of the other patrons had a shot at it, one small perk for working in a library.  I was in the mood for something different and decided to move it up in my reading order and started it the night I brought it home.  I’m not sure how I feel about the book, and as I’m typing this still not set on what star rating to give it, hopefully writing the review will help me sort it all out.

So lets begin with the positive, what I liked about the story.  My two favorite lines from the book are:

” Don’t you realize the Internet is just a way for millions of sad people to be completely alone together?”

&

“It’s hard to be alone and offline,…”

Personally I am a huge fan of the internet, I am after all one of those pathetic people whose only social interaction is through online social media and posts on my blog.  I don’t have close friends in real life, besides my husband and animals.  I do many things alone and there is a reason I have so many hours a day to read.  I’m also at a point in my life where I’m fine with that.  While I missing having girlfriends to go shopping together, just hang out with or call and talk to on the phone, I’m no longer going to compromise my beliefs and censor my opinions to fit them into my life or theirs. I am want friends who are going to accept me for who I am, I will not be bullied any longer by anyone and until I find people like that I’m alright being alone.    I learned a few years back that the friends I thought I had were not true friends so I had to do some housekeeping and cut them loose.  Anyway, before I go off on a longer tangent, in American society we tend to be very isolated from each other.  It isn’t easy to make friends as an adult and I feel the internet provides a much need outlet for social interaction for many people.  Is it better than real life interactions, probably not, but its better then nothing.

I wanted to read this book because of how my husband and I react when we do not have access to our drug of choice.  Heaven forbid if Youtube or Facebook wont load,  we quickly become cranky angry monsters that will snap at each other at the drop of a hat until the WiFi is working again.  We need our internet, and society and businesses today are making it more and more difficult to have a life that isn’t somehow connected to this virtual world.  We need instant access.  We need to compulsively share small part of our lives with the greater populous, because as the younger generations have already figured out if it doesn’t happen or isn’t shared online it didn’t happen in today’s world.  So this idea of a story where that all disappears appealed to me greatly.  I was expecting a funny observation of how people reacted as life as they knew it crumbled around them and they were forced to learn how to interact with one another again.  While I got some of that in this story it wasn’t quite what  I was expecting.  A little more and a lot less at the same time.  Let me explain…

The main character of the book is also the author.  Some times this is done well, sometimes not.  This time I’m kind of eh about it.  You never know if the character is a true representation of the actual person, and in this case I hope Mr. Gladstone does not truly act like an immature horny 12 year old that he comes off as in much of this story.  The obsession with pornography and sex was a little overdone in this story.  Yes there is a lot of that on the internet, but I don’t think, or hope that, the vast majority of society outgrows it quickly and uses the internet as a tool for knowledge, staying on top of current events, entertainment and connecting with others for reasons besides  just getting off.

Much of the story we follow three characters around New York as they investigate the real life groups that form to represent online gathering spots in a search for what happen to the internet.  The observations of these groups were a bit cliche at times and not nearly as humorous as I thought they would be.  I still think the author made some good points about how these people would probably react to being denied their favorite form of interaction.

About halfway through the story  there is a twist, and this is probably what saved me from stopping the book. I’m not going to go into much detail, because I feel it could give too much away and ruin the story for you.  I thought it interesting and perhaps made me like or feel for the main character more than I would have if the story did not turn this way.

If you can get over a lot of the juvenile sex jokes and how the plot seems to revolve around pornography for a good chuck of the story then this is an interesting read.  Not ready to say good, but if you like crude humor or are into many of the sub-culture sites that are online this may be a book you should give a try.  It reminded me a bit of Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  Not  that I think this one is in the same level of story as those two, but the writing style and humor.

So what to rate it?  I think I’m going to stick with three stars.  I liked it, but felt the execution could have been better.  I agree with one other reviewer this could have been  a short story and gotten the same idea across.   I’m not sorry for having tried it, but was expecting something different or something more.  Have you read this one?  What did you think?  How would you feel if suddenly there was no internet?  Would your life be better or worse? Easier or harder?  Lonelier?

 

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4 thoughts on “Notes from the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone – 3 Stars

  1. I think this is an interesting topic. I know how I get when the Internet is down at my place, haha. I think I’d probably feel more lonely without the Internet, because I love blogging and talking with fellow bloggers ^.^ It also helps to bring people together. If the Internet were to be abolished (which I am not at all suggesting, lol), though, I think it would help bring people together as well.
    Great review! Definitely got me thinking :)

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    • Thank you, It got me thinking as well. The story could have been better done, but it did succeeded in making me think. I too think at times perhaps we would be better off with out the internet, forced out of our shells and made to interact in real life. Then again perhaps not. A lot of us need the anonymity that the virtual world provides to feel safe to express our opinions. I know I’m not so bold offline. Which is a shame really, we should feel free to be ourselves no matter the setting. Glad you liked the review!

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  2. I like this review. The book does sound like a great idea executed in a so-so way. I think the internet may just be an evolutionary tool like the radio, telephone, the telegraph, and snail mail, in that is just an avenue of communication done on a scale that is breathtaking. Thanks to the internet I can keep in almost daily contact with the friends I grew up with that live on the other side of the country. We can exchange text, music, pictures, and whatever we see fit to put in our communication. And it is cheap and efficient. I also play Scrabble and Words With Friends with people as far away as England and with my wife who is sitting on the couch beside me. I would be sad if the internet no longer existed but I don’t know if it would effect me long term as I’m pretty much the same person online as I am in real life. To me a friend is a friend whether they are online or in my physical proximity. If anything I’m probably more toned down online but as I get more comfortable blogging that may change. You got me thinking!

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