Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Now you see it, now you don't

So the only reason I got RX: A Tale of Electronegativity was because I felt guilty reading Robert Brockway's new novel, The Unnoticeables, without having read his first novel; I'd been meaning to read RX eventually anyway and then there was Amazon's Prime Day and Brockway was pushing his new book on Cracked and long story short suddenly I had a whole bunch of new books. I read RX first because it felt right, and I'm glad that I did - I liked that book and had fun with it, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I did The Unnoticeables and I'm super glad that I saved the best for last.

The Unnoticeables is not a story, like RX, that takes place in a strange and distant future. It takes place here, now, and forty years ago. It's full of scenes I recognize and faceless horrors that are strikingly familiar. Though maybe that's because I live in LA and it's not really a stretch to believe that minor celebrities here are blank-eyed monsters who are out to get you.

But I don't want to get into spoiler territory. So let's talk big picture: it is vitally important that you have a decent stock of beer handy when you're reading this book. You will want beer frequently and if you have to stop and get some you'll be irritated. You'll probably also want cigarettes, if you smoke, and at least four hours worth of poorly-produced punk lined up on your playlist (regardless of whether or not you smoke). Do not, under any circumstances, watch Saved by the Bell for at least a week before or after reading The Unnoticeables. Keep a lighter in your pocket at all times (also regardless of whether or not you smoke).

The book is a quick read, the story is creepily plausible while still being fantastic, and the world it occupies is filthy and bright and homey all at once. You'll be guided through the plot by two fascinating people with lots of problems and very little hope but enough gumption and resignation to be extremely likeable protagonists. Did I mention that the book is funny? Because it is. It's not always the kind of funny that makes you sick, usually it's the kind of funny that makes you queasy, but it's hard to be unamused even as you're also horrified. Totally worthwhile, basically, is what I have to say about The Unnoticeables.

Brockway, Robert. The Unnoticeables. TOR Books. New York: New York. 2015.

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