PATENT PENDING

“All problems were insignificant compared to Lola saying, ‘I love him.’ With Lola, everything was solvable. She was my independent variable.”

Books are usually copyrighted but this one should be patented. It is a dynamo of satire. An engine of irony. In his 2011 novel Machine Man, Australian writer Max Barry invents and launches a roaring, soaring weapon against runaway technology and corporate tyranny. For fuel he uses existential philosophy, bioethics, and any other kind of ethics you can think of. Love is a secret additive. Who knew? That’s where Lola comes in. While he’s busy designing marvels of modern science that are also instruments of modern destruction, Barry’s protagonist Dr. Charlie Neumann becomes attracted to Lola and the attraction is magnetic: literally, figuratively, allegorically, you name it. It might just be one of the strangest romances of modern literature. But in the reality of the world in which Machine Man lives and works, their love is the least bizarre phenomenon.

Barry’s literary apparatus may be a little wacky, but when it hits its target you smile. And it hits its target dead on. Grab ahold and hang on. It will blow you to pieces.

[Thank you to my daughter and her friend who is an engineer and owns the book, which I borrowed.]

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