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Turn of the Century opens in February 2000, in a bizarro world with just a tangy twist of futuristic extrapolation. George has parlayed a Newsweek writing job into a PBS documentary into a $16,575-a-week job as a producer at the sinister MBC network. His series, NARCS, is a veritable Cuisinart of fact and fiction in which the actors get to participate in real drug busts and get all the best lines, since they're working from scripts. In the most notorious episode, the dealer they arrest turns out to be an Actors Equity member (thanks to Rent), so he gets union scale and a recurring role.
As George stumbles into a Wolfesque calamity spiral, his wife, Lizzie Zimbalist, ascends to power. Lizzie is a brilliant software entrepreneur: her "force-feedback technology" alternative-history game can sense players' fear. "If you travel to 1792 Paris, for instance, you are designated a besotted peasant or a frightened aristocrat or an angry sansculotte according to your heart rate, blood pressure, and skin conductance; too many twitches, the wrong sort of palpitation, and you're a marquess (or marchioness) headed for the guillotine." Needless to say, her insights into the year 2000 earn her bigtime interest from George's boss and Microsoft. Lizzie is a character at least as vivid as George, and their hectic family life is uncloying and acutely observed.
Andersen's plot (involving Bill Gates's potential death) has more hairy turns than the Hana Highway--read carefully or you'll go off the road. But you're guaranteed a wild ride with amazing characters: an irreverent investor inspired by James Cramer, a hilarious MBC toady, Timothy Featherstone--who's as marvelous a creation as Tony Curtis in The Sweet Smell of Success--and worlds' worth of social caricatures. Kurt Andersen has an uncanny ear for the way we talk now and Turn of the Century is sharp, knowing, and subversive. Let's all pray that it isn't prescient as well. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I can understand why so many people gave up on this book, but I can't help but feel sorry that they did. Read morePublished on September 28, 2007 by Seckseeguy
I picked up Andersen's long novel with hesitation but found it all but impossible to put down. His plotting is intricate but impeccable in terms of plausibility and every thread... Read morePublished on December 1, 2002 by Ralph M. Hitchens
This book has marvelously drawn characters and a deft plot. But what lingers in my mind are the constant, droll little absurdities that abound in the characters' world,... Read morePublished on May 26, 2002 by Steve Sanders
Anyone who worked on the net or in media will relate in a big time way, especially if they can keep up with the cultural references - Incroyable... Read morePublished on May 3, 2002 by "spcdenver"
Kurt Andersen's got one heck of an imagination. Some of the scenarios he comes up with for the not-so-distant future are just downright neat! Read morePublished on March 12, 2002 by Elizabeth Bronzino
Turn of the century continues to serve a most useful purpose, months after I gave up on it. I have a door that rattles if it's not wedged open and T-o-C is just big enough and... Read morePublished on August 13, 2001 by grahamer
Turn of the Century is so boring and slow moving that it's not worth reading. In the first half of the book, literally close to nothing happens. Read morePublished on July 14, 2001 by M. Packham
I bought Turn of the Century because of the good publicity. The publicists exaggerated somewhat! I really can't see what all the fuss was about. Read morePublished on April 28, 2001 by Marc Ransome
forget the tom wolfe comparison. this book is simply BORING! i'm half through reading it, but i'm still waiting for something interesting to happen. Read morePublished on April 18, 2001 by "nospam39"