Agents of the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone (Thomas Dunne Books, July 21, 2015) – The Internet is gone. Vanished. People around the world are frantically clicking refresh on their laptops or useless smartphones, desperate for a hit. Meanwhile, Gladstone’s just glad he’s being released from the psych ward, because it means he can continue on with what he was doing before – trying to get Romaya, his wife, back.
The world has other plans for Gladstone, though. He’s the Internet Messiah, and he’s supposed to bring the ‘Net back. Pushed into continuing the search for who killed our online access, he discovers his journal has gone “paper viral” and spurred a cult following. He can’t give up the search for the Internet now. Too many people are depending on him. Except Romaya. She’s not. But Gladstone’s determined to have it all – the Internet and Romaya. With the help of his sidekick, Tobey, Jeeves the prophet, and a couple of anonymous tipsters, Gladstone’s journey to restore the Web gets stranger, more dangerous, and funnier with every step.
A friend of mine recently had to have a land line installed. Her youngest son keeps trying to swipe awake the caller ID screen and doesn’t understand why it’s not working. It’s funny, and it’s sad. Just like Agents of the Internet Apocalypse. It’s bitingly funny at times, full of snark and witty banter. And it’s spot-on social commentary for how we live today. Gladstone has come to see the Web as a drug, and we’re all addicted. He sees his quest not so much as a way to help everyone else get their next fix, but to prove to his ex-wife that he can be depended upon.
People try to keep Web fads alive, from paper memes to a bar called The Hash Tag to dating events stylized like the different online dating sites. Gladstone could care less about all of that. This is a story that’s as much about our Web addiction as it is about the things we’ll do for the people we love. While it’s the second book in the trilogy, there’s enough backstory woven in I didn’t feel lost for having not read the first one.
As Gladstone’s search progresses, society starts to reacquaint itself with its previous Internet-free existence. “Video killed the radio star, but the Internet killed magazine and videotape tits.” Truer words, Tobey. Truer words.
Copy provided by the publisher.