Note: This is a spoiler-free review of David Wong’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
“If Zoey Ashe had known she was being stalked by a man who intended to kill her and then slowly eat her bones, she would have worried more about that and less about getting her cat off the roof.”
With that sentence, readers are instantly thrown into the amusing-yet-dangerous world of David Wong’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits. The novel is the third to be published under that pseudonym by the New York Times bestseller, and Executive Editor of Cracked.com, Jason Pargin. For the sake of the review, however, I will keep referring to him as David Wong. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is the first of Wong’s novels to steer away from the “Soy Sauce Series,” as some refer to it, that Wong crafted with his previous two novels. Instead, Wong chose to take readers to a near-future in which a young woman and her smelly cat are thrust into a deadly world of assassins, fortunes, and technology that gives people super powers. If that isn’t enough to get you interested in the novel, you might be on the wrong website.
The novel tells the story of Zoey Ashe, a young woman from a Midwestern trailer park who finds herself at the center of a wild war between rich and powerful people. Whisked away to a city straight out of Blade Runner where nothing is illegal, especially for those with money, and the only people she can trust are the associates of her dead, estranged father. These associates, referred to as The Suits, are a well-dressed group of people who seem to be the only form of order in a chaotic future of excess, but Zoey has to figure out if that is enough to trust them with her life. At least Christmas won’t be boring.
Wong has proven himself a master of both the hilarious and the horrifying, and this newest work aims his brilliantly cynical comedy style at a possible future for our society. The world of Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is one filled with stark class divisions, internet escapism, an overbearing social media presence, questionable military technology, machines of convenience, corporate over-saturation and gaudy Christmas decorations, which all help to paint a picture of an America that is just too believable as the America of tomorrow. Wong is a keen observer of the human condition, and is able to translate that into an apt, and often snarky, prediction for society’s trajectory. Let’s face it, self-driving cars seem less cool when we know they will be used for fast food drive-thrus.
Like Jonathan Swift for the internet age, Wong’s novel offers an engrossing journey and razor-sharp wit inside of an uncanny prediction of an American future. His humor ranges anywhere from blatantly poking fun at our world to more subtle aspects of life that one would not even think of until pointed out. Wong’s capability as an author has steadily matured since he won cult status with John Dies at the End in 2007, and his newest is only more proof that he will be remembered as one of today’s great satirists.
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits is available October 6th wherever books are sold, as well to download as an e-book or audiobook.
This review was completed using a copy of the novel provided by Thomas Dunne Books. Featured Image is credited to Mike Burns Illustration.