Author: Lauren Beukes
Book procurement: Bought on Takealot.com.
A frighteningly persuasive, high-tech fable, this novel follows the lives of four narrators living in an alternative futuristic Cape Town, South Africa. Kendra, an art-school dropout, brands herself for a nanotech marketing program; Lerato, an ambitious AIDS baby, plots to defect from her corporate employers; Tendeka, a hot-headed activist, is becoming increasingly rabid; and Toby, a roguish blogger, discovers that the video games he plays for cash are much more than they seem. On a collision course that will rewire their lives, this story crackles with bold and infectious ideas, connecting a ruthless corporate-apartheid government with video games, biotech attack dogs, slippery online identities, a township soccer school, shocking cell phones, addictive branding, and genetically modified art. Taking hedonistic trends in society to their ultimate conclusions, this tale paints anything but a forecasted utopia, satirically undermining the reified idea of progress as society’s white knight.
Well that was embarrassing (Thanks Rache!)
Ahem so… Moxyland was a fascinating book by Lauren Beukes, the second novel I have read by a talented local (South African) author and her debut novel which won the Authur C. Clarke award and I can see why.
Set in a future South African context where everyone needs a pass to access almost everything and cellphones are more than just a device for making phone calls, messaging people and checking social media platforms, four characters intermingle in the biggest conspiracy ever! Told from each of their perspectives, we sink into a world of corporate espionage, underground activists, immersive gaming and an alarming prospect of technological advancement.
It took a while to get into the book, only because I was reading The Time Traveler before this, and the change in tone, narrative and culture was a bit of a shock. My favourite character was Toby, who took his blogging to a whole new level, which was exacerbated by his cockiness and satirical nonchalance to the world around him.
The interweaving stories around the four characters and how they were connected in some way was imaginative and fun. The world-building was exceptional; it took the historical and cultural aspects of our third world country and intermingled them with Umbrella Corporation style institutions, for an ominous “nothing-is-as-it-seems” macrocosm.
The cliff-hanger ending gives me a semblance of hope that Lauren Beukes will perhaps dabble with a Moxyland sequel (please!).
Rating: A twisted 4 out of 5