Another Review: LoveStar

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 ūüėČ tho!!)

13533771

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.

Advertisements

Quick Thoughts: LoveStar

13533771¬†Let me first clear the air… I did not finish this book.

That is my confession, so you know now, this will not be a “review”. These are my thoughts only.

LoveStar was the March book club pick for our participation in the Critical Era book club.

LoveStar is a novel firmly placed in the science fiction genre. I knew that going in. Completely.¬†I continue to say that I appreciate and lovingly participate in the Critical Era book club. Many, many times they have expanded my reading list and some of those times the choices have been a fantastic and surprising success, others, not so much. LoveStar falls in the “not so much” category for me this time around.

As a very young reader, fantasy and/or science fiction never appealed to me. Especially those futuristic fantasies warning of impending doom or end-of-the-world stories that took place well, well¬†off in to the future. I just never got in to it. But I also have to say, knowing this, I did pick up 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami for what was then called Opinionless book club. It was bizarre, absolutely, but I enjoyed much of it, truthfully. And the discussion following was some of the best and funniest talks we’ve had in the club. So again, knowing this, it was not that difficult for me to attempt LoveStar.

The underlying, dooming message of the book¬†emerges easily from the start. Yes, our dependence upon technology and our ever increasing obsession with consumerism is nothing but to our detriment.¬†Absolutely.¬†I was readily willing to discuss and interpret these opinions and warnings, however,¬†it was the presentation¬†of these warnings that for me, were just far too outlandish and downright silly for me to wish to continue to the novel’s end. From the ability to “rewind” your children for better efficiency, to growing new body parts for special occasions and hooking oneself in to the REGRET machine and some such I could not¬†proceed further. This presentation only reaffirmed¬†my dislike¬†in reading from this genre. It began to feel like an obligation to continue. That’s not a good approach to my reading.

So, this is not a “review” of LoveStar, no, not at all, this is merely¬†my putting my thoughts down and a way to, I suppose, make myself feel at rest with my decision to put it away (far, far away). You may wish to read very convincing and wonderful reviews, you know, ones that did make me feel a (very brief) twinge of doubt about putting the book away…but I do encourage you to read Karli’s and Aaron’s reviews from Typographical Era.

Jackie, I believe, is perservering and will continue to the end, so perhaps more positive thoughts will follow next week from a different Literary Hoarder. But for this Hoarder, there is no love for the LoveStar and I’m moving forward with my reading schedule. (Already, a dozen more have appeared like shiny objects to distract me, but I will beaver on with the original list first!)

From Goodreads: LoveStar, the enigmatic and obsessively driven founder of the LoveStar corporation, has unlocked the key to transmitting data via birdwaves, thus freeing mankind from wires and devices, and allowing consumerism, technology, and science to run rampant over all aspects of daily life. Cordless modern men and women are paid to howl advertisements at unsuspecting passers-by, REGRET machines eliminate doubt over roads not taken, soul mates are identified and brought together (while existing, unscientifically validated relationships are driven remorselessly asunder), and rocketing the dead into the sky becomes both a status symbol and a beautiful, cathartic show for those left behind.

Indridi and Sigrid, two blissfully happy young lovers, have their perfect worlds threatened (along with Indridi‚Äôs sanity) when they are ‚Äúcalculated apart‚ÄĚ and are forced to go to extreme lengths to prove their love. Their journey ultimately puts them on a collision course with LoveStar, who is on his own mission to find what might become the last idea in the world.

Steeped in influences ranging from Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, and Kurt Vonnegut to George Orwell, Douglas Adams, and Monty Python, Andri Snær Magnason has created a surreal yet uncomfortably familiar world, where the honey embrace of love does its utmost to survive amid relentless and overpowering controls.