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Agents of the Internet Apocalypse: A Novel (The Internet Apocalypse Trilogy) Hardcover – July 21, 2015
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“With his sharp wit and Googlesque knowledge of the Web, Gladstone lays bare the ways viral communication has become the infrastructure of our economic and cultural identity....At its core, Notes from the Internet Apocalypse is a love story...it will break your heart.” ―The Washington Post on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“The punchlines are pitch-perfect. Anyone who spends time sharing jokes in web communities will find this satire irresistible. ” ―Booklist on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“A belly-laugh account.” ―Toronto Star on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“An acid cultural satire that skewers what we would miss most about the online world.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“An amusing but thoughtful look at what might happen to our culture if the World Wide Web went down for good.” ―FantasyLiterature.com on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“An oddly heartfelt journey through the wasteland of a techno-collapse. Gladstone takes an admittedly far-fetched and off-putting story idea and breathes startling life into it. He gambles here, but he wins. Give it a read.” ―Patton Oswalt on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“This is satire in its purest form: an exaggerated, filthy and ridiculous world - which happens to be exactly the world we live in. Gladstone has conceived and successfully executed a clever thought experiment that illustrates just how crazy the Internet has made all of us. Witty, profane and entertaining.” ―Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“Wayne Gladstone's satire is a high-concept page-turner brimming with LOL-worthy one-liners and observations about the web-addicted zombies we've become and the price we've paid for our sins. The best way to sum up the reading experience would be an emoticon that has yet to be invented.” ―Teddy Wayne, author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“Gladstone's novel makes it clear that losing the Internet would indeed be apocalyptic, but it would also be funny, thrilling, and would perhaps be necessary to remind us of who we really are.” ―John Warner, Editor-at-Large of McSweeney's Internet Tendency and author of The Funny Man, on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“A story whose humor is matched by its insight into technology's effect on our relationships. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll beg your Internet provider to never leave you.” ―Frank Lesser, writer for The Colbert Report and author of Sad Monsters, on Notes from the Internet Apocalypse
“This book has the most unique premise of any book I have ever read. ... Agents Of The Internet Apocalypse is 250 pages of interesting. I can't wait for the third one.” ―Geeks of Doom
“With fewer jokes but still plenty of snark, this is required reading for fans of its predecessor. And until the final volume, all the disconnected Net junkies out there will be craving a fix.” ―Booklist on Agents of the Internet Apocalypse
About the Author
WAYNE GLADSTONE is a longtime columnist for Cracked.com and the author of Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. He is the creator and star of the Hate by Numbers online video series. His writing has appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Comedy Central's Indecision, and in the collections You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News and The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes. He lives in New York.
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The internet's still missing, and thanks to his journal, more people than ever think Gladstone's the man to bring it back. Eventually, he resigns himself to being the "internet messiah" he was branded, and starts tracking down leads. At least he does when he can be torn away from trying to re-connect with his ex-wife by his cohorts Toby and Jeeves.
New plots uncovered, new enemies made, more trouble for Gladstone; in short, a great second novel escalation in this nouveau-noir trilogy.
As is usually the case in second-of-three novels, although it was a fine stand-alone novel in its own right, this one ends on a little bit more of a cliffhanger than the first (think the Empire Strikes Back) but it only served to make me eagerly await the third novel, Reports on the Internet Apocalypse.
I envy people just discovering it, as you don't even have to wait for the third and final installment, and I highly recommend the entire trilogy.
The novel begins with Gladstone in a mental hospital, and soon takes us to Los Angeles, where an investigation unfolds that both echoes and progresses from the investigation in New York. We find Tobey in his natural habitat, Romaya as a real person, and Gladstone finds himself on a different mission than the one he set out to complete. The coastal switch is one of many inversions from the first novel, and another is that this storytelling has gone from deliberately fuzzy and fractured to driven and structured, but still thoughtful, witty, and funny in all the right places. Modern social and political issues are examined through the satirical lens the Internet Apocalypse landscape fosters so well – sometimes overt and bold, sometimes so incredibly subtle that I feel certain there'll be more to discover on a dozenth read. It's clear from much of his work that Wayne Gladstone strives for the perfect balance between intellectual sophistication and irreverent silliness, and despite how incredibly difficult it is to pull that off, he has succeeded here.
When I say Gladstone's adventure is Quixotic, I don't mean in the sense of being synonymous with foolish (although there is certainly an element of that) – I mean in the literary sense, in the sense of all the things that make Don Quixote wonderful. How is it that we came to love the world's most misguided and ineffectual protagonist so fiercely? The same way it's so easy to love the protagonist of the Internet Apocalypse series. Even as he punctuates his observations of the post-Internet world with scathing criticisms of the people in it, Gladstone passionately believes in humanity and optimism and love, the way that Don Quixote believes in heroism and chivalry. Like he says in the novel, Gladstone believes in "pure things". And like Quixote, he will never stop fighting for those beliefs, no matter how many beatings he takes or defeats he suffers. Both authors share a flair for somehow making obnoxious irreverence into something subversive and endearing, as well as meaningful use of metafiction and exploration of the author-protagonist relationship.
Reading this novel, I found that every discovery Gladstone makes about himself, and observation he makes about the internet-addicted world, is a self-discovery for the reader, or at least uncomfortably familiar. It's no easy thing to hold a mirror up to the world in a way that makes us look and think rather than turn away in abjection; it's a fine line to walk, and Wayne Gladstone walks it masterfully.