Notes From the Internet Apocalypse by Wayne Gladstone
Read by Paul Michael Garcia
Length: 5 Hrs 24 Min
Genre: Science Fiction
With books that satirize, memorialize or simply utilize some portion of geek culture, often times the key element is being in the know. Books like Ready Player One, where the culture of the 80’s and 90’s were used as a plot device, was a huge winner for me, because that was my time, and my people. Yet, a book like You by Austin Grossman, a look at the early programming culture, fell flat for me because that was a culture I never was really involved in. It was brilliantly written and effective, but not as engaging for me as it was for many others. This is the pretty poison of a book like Notes From the Internet Apocalypse. While everyone will get in on the joke on some level, the more immersed in the culture of the Internet you are, the more effective this book becomes. Gladstone handles the topic ingeniously. He creates a society where the internet has just gone away, and now society must ween itself from it’s internet addiction, and it’s not going cold turkey. Live action animal memes, secret forums and trollish bullies look for real world answers the their anonymous hobbies. There are some true laugh out loud moments, even for the causal internet addict, and moments where you know there is a joke that should totally be in on, but just aren’t. Gladstone gives the story a real noir feel, with his main character, Gladstone, becoming a Chandleresque detective searching for the internet. The ending straddler the line between poignant and corny, with a little bit of twistiness but a whole lot of fun. Notes From the Internet Apocalypse may have an awkward time finding a true audience, it has just enough truly clever fun moments to make it fun for fans of many subgenres.
The highlight of the book for me was the performance of Paul Michael Garcia. At first I was wondering how his “Just the facts, mam” pacing would work for this, but it was friggin’ perfect. He balanced the often ridiculous nature of the plot with easy, delivering both the outrageous and dry humor of the tale wonderfully. Garcia is one of the narrators who when he really fits with a book, take it to another level. If your looking for a quick, offbeat listen with a solid, quirky performance Notes From the Internet Apocalypse fits that bill quite well.