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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A wastoid playboy gets sucked into a funny and paranoid near-future misadventure in Konstantinou's entertaining debut. In the near future—the 2000s are vintage but not forgotten—the Internet has evolved into the mediasphere, which allows lives to be followed so closely that names are traded like stocks on a Reputations Exchange. Eliot Vanderthorpe Jr. is a longtime screwup, the high-profile party-animal son of Eliot Sr., who runs the company behind the mediasphere. After Eliot Sr. takes his son's name public as a way to control his erratic behavior, the younger Eliot hooks up with a branding expert who attempts to drive up his IPO. Soon enough, Eliot discovers another Eliot living in the off-limits Occupied Zone of Northern California. Things get very crazy very quickly once Eliot sets out to confront his doppelgänger, and the conspiracy he uncovers has a very long, twisted reach. This playful and witty novel takes our celebrity-obsessed and media-hijacked culture, mixes in geopolitics and a dash of cyberpunk dystopia to create an intelligent and blistering what-if. (May)
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From Booklist

In the near future, the world is about to witness a war between the U.S.-led Freedom Coalition and a Middle Eastern caliphate, with total coverage already optioned by the major media, including the Holy Land Channel. For celebrity heir Eliot Vanderthorpe Jr., however, the event barely registers, due to a summer of wanton fornication and drug-laden partying. When Eliot’s hard-core evangelical Christian father insists on polishing his son’s image with a job in his multibillion-dollar corporation, Eliot’s life takes an ominous turn. In the corporation’s classified database, which is connected to Homeland Security, Eliot discovers footage of a California man resembling himself in every detail, and his ensuing quest to track the peripatetic doppelgänger from Berkeley to the Holy Land results in the jarring revelation that his Rapture-obsessed father plans to stage the Apocalypse on live TV unless Eliot and his friends can stop him. Konstantinou’s dazzling debut generates laughs while deliciously skewering today’s hyperkinetic media, religious zealotry, and international politics. One of the most mordantly funny satires of the new millennium. --Carl Hays
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Product Details

  • Series: P.S.
  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 Original edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061715379
  • ASIN: B0048EL93Q
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,494,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lee Konstantinou was born in New York City in 1978. After a long march through various institutions of higher education, he has become an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Hochberg on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Packed with true-to-life observations of a not so distant future, Pop Apocalypse delivers an entertaining and oftentimes disturbingly accurate picture of our media-obsessed culture. It's Vonnegut meeting David Sedaris at a party where Piers Anthony is DJ'ing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on May 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
In the near future the mediasphere has replaced the Internet, enabling users to follow the lives of people to the minutest detail. In fact reputable names have become a commodity item traded on the Reputations Exchange.

Eliot Vanderthorpe, Sr. is the CEO of the firm that runs the mediasphere. Unlike his successful dad, Eliot, Jr. is a wastrel failure. Frustrated with his no chip off the block offspring Sr. places the name of Jr. on the Reputations Exchange. Eliot the son learns of another Eliot living in the banned off-limits Occupied Zone of Northern California where anti capitalists once held sway. Junior decides to meet his other self only to find a conspiracy spinning in many directions like an octopus' tentacles.

This future tale is a fast-paced lampooning of celebrity fame, pop culture, and media attention span as to what is important. The story line is fast-paced throughout as capitalist society is satirized on seemingly every page; even the Middle East has become one caliphate run by a pop idol. Fans who enjoy an irreverent look at modern culture will want to read Lee Kostaninou's amusing take no prisoners' tale.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Navin R Sivanandam on May 3, 2009
Format: Paperback
It's odd reviewing a book written by a friend, but given that I found Pop Apocalypse throughly enjoyable, entertaining and even a little thought-provoking, a review seems like the thing to do.

The plot weaves elements from economics, religion and technology into an engaging futurist tapestry. Moreover, while the biting satire often drifts into the absurd (with suitably humorous results), just as you think the red cows, doppelgangers and Lebanese pop singers are just there for laughs, a deeper point emerges.

I was especially struck by the carefully-constructed economy of Reputation and Names. Fans of economically literate fiction will find much to engage them here. As will those who wonder at the possibilities for increasing the intersection of the digital world with society at large.

In fact the combination of absurd profoundity (or, perhaps profound absurdity) along a lively futurist vision reminds me most of the cyberpunk offerings of Neil Stephenson (Snow Crash) and Charles Stross (Halting State). If you're a fan of either or both of these guys, you should definitely pick up a copy of Pop Apocalypse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ed Finn on May 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying Lee's a friend of mine. That said, I wouldn't be writing this review if I didn't genuinely enjoy the book.

Pop Apocalypse will appeal to cynics, coffee-drinkers, media theorists, armchair generals, celebrity-watchers, pop philosophers and geeks of all sorts. This near-future dystopia reminds me of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition with a splash of Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and social analysis by Malcolm Gladwell's evil twin.

Eliot Vanderthorpe, Jr. is our antihero, struggling through a life of wearying wealth and excess until a devious plot casts him in the uncomfortable role of world-saver. He lives in a universe where the logic of total surveillance has been realized, privatized, and supersized: celebrity brands and reputations are traded like stocks. It is life as we know it, only a little more twisted, extreme, and dark. Just check the Terror Forecast before driving through Jersey.

I love the humor and keen satirical wit of the book, but ultimately what makes it not just fun but satisfying is that Lee isn't simply taking shots here. Hapless, hopelessly hip Eliot develops that most unusual of modern appendages: a conscience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Parween Ebrahim on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Pop Apocalypse" comes right out of the ethos of the "end of times," which characterized much of the political and cultural rhetoric of the Bush years, and is shot through and through with irony.
You'll recognize a world that we are familiar with: of celebrities and scandal, a world that is branded and over-branded. At its center is the protagonist, Eliot Vanderthorpe, debauched party go-er, playboy, a brand unto himself, with his entourage of faithful fans and admirers. As attempts to catalyze the apocalypse into happening occur and a grand face-off in the "Holy Land" seems imminent, Konstantionu keeps us guessing as to what will happen till the very end.
"Pop Apocalypse" is readable, entertaining, hilarious, fast-paced, and yet for all its hipness and cool, the underlying message of the novel is serious, its critique of fundamentalism, religious or economic, devastating. To lovers of fiction, followers of world affairs, religion and economics, this is one novel you won't want to miss reading.
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