This was a Science Fiction novel by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason and the March Critical Era Book Club pick. It was actually written over 10 years ago but was translated from Icelandic to English at the end of 2012. It was nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award for Sci-Fi and ended up receiving an honourable mention (congrats!)! After much coordination, our pal Aaron at Typographical Era managed to arrange an international chat so we could discuss the weird and “wonderful” world of LoveStar with Mr. Magnason himself. The insight I gained from this discussion made me enjoy the story more than I thought I did– I still can’t believe it was written long before the days of Twitter and Facebook. It sure seemed that the message was a cautionary tale of what has already come to be with targeted advertising and product placement on the internet (cute Andri was joking that he should be a billionaire because he must have invented FB and Twitter– always with a 😉 tho!!)
It is an unspecified time in the not so distant future and The LoveStar Corporation (discovered by the enigmatic man also called LoveStar) has taken over almost everything– communication (via bird and butterfly waves fed directly to the brain), advertising (specifically targeted to your consuming needs), death (shoot your loved one into space and watch them become a shooting star rather than rot in the ground) and even love (mathematically calculated love matches will evoke peace on earth). Now it is closing in on cracking the “God” market with their new product idea of LoveGod.
The LoveGod pitch:
“Imagine you were hungry. You close your eyes and pray: Dear God, I want a pizza with ham and pineapple. We receive the message and have an exclusive contract with Domino’s, for example, and if you say Amen, it means the order is confirmed. The pizza will be sent out instantaneously! It couldn’t be simpler!”
The idea of marketing God as a product would make the company even more powerful and, of course, power corrupts. Ragnar, an evil go getter in charge of the mood department at LoveDeath becomes obsessed with getting the LoveGod project off the ground at all costs. LoveStar (the man) needs to choose between allowing this to happen or ending it all.
In the meantime a couple called Indridi and Sigrid are in the midst of a crisis of their own– they have not been “matched” by inLOVE as they thought they would be and now must be separated. Luckily they have Simon, the secret ad-man, to help them become reunited in the Big Bad Wolf’s zipper stomach by the end of the story (you think that sounds weird– I haven’t even mentioned the man-made Mickey Mice who eat children and have urine that will clean any household stain imaginable, Larry LoveDeath, the replacement for Santa Claus or the LoveStar theme park where they serve puffin sandwiches that don’t taste like fish).
It did end a bit abruptly but I liked how it makes you think about how even intangible things like love, death and even God are starting to become successfully marketed on the internet. This was also another one of those books that I would have never chose to read on my own (I LOVE Book Clubs for that!). True Sci-fi fans might like it a bit better than I did but it was a solid 3 star read for me.
Also, see Penny’s quick view here.