NationStates Jolt Archive

Wow....they actually hated the donut (Minor Company and Jennifer Government spoilers)

29-01-2006, 07:27
You know a book's going to be good when, at the bookstore, the staff is telling you how their lives are all the worse for having seen it. There's just something about that expression on people's faces, the look which screams "Damn you Max Barry!", that makes you think "Okay, I must be holding a masterpiece here".

Well, I went to my local bookstore on the 18'th (The day after the release of Company) and, finding a suspicious empty space next to their sole copy of Jennifer Government (Yes, they actually had one), I asked at the desk if Company was in stock, would be in stock soon, or had already been burned in the rear. Sadly, I'm informed the store doesn't actively carry it (The guy actually gives me a speech about costs, consumer response, and sales figures) and I must order it. Expected delivery time: 1 week. A week's not to bad, compared to not having it at all, and I put forth the request. They put all my info into the computer, including correctly copying my cell phone number, and wish me a nice day as I leave the store. Okay, I actually then spent about half an hour browsing the stacks and ended up buying a copy of Starship Troopers, but that's not really relevant to this story.

Now, I'm heading back to that same mall earlier today (Planning on seeing Underworld: Evolution, which kicked so much ass) and decide to stop by the store and see if my book was in. Keep in mind today is Saturday, three days passed the supposed week-long delivery time. Logically, I didn't expect to receive my copy for yet another week, but (Surprise, surprise) the book's behind the counter. Why wasn't I notified earlier? My cell phone number was no longer in service. This being the phone I'm currently wearing on my hip and which I used earlier in the day to call home. Explain that one to me.

Anyway, as they hand me my copy they regale me with the story of how the cover, the partially eaten donut, has tormented their very souls and pushed their conciousness to the very edge of sanity. Truly, it was the work of demons placed upon the Earth with the sole intent of driving spears of anguish into their minds. Okay, they were actually about to go on break when the book was delivered and the picture of the donut made them feel hungrier than they already were, but these people were really hungry! I'm serious, I'm surprised they didn't start gnawing at their own flesh! They were really tortured by this! Well, mildly put off at least.

Max, if you happen to read this, know that I loved this book before I even started reading it. Anything which can irritate so few with a simple picture truly must be a work of art.

Of course, I then read it (After the movie) and loved it all the more. Just finished it a few hours ago, in fact, and am still giggling slightly. Max, you freaking rock!

I found the characters hilarious in and of themselves. I found their interactions amazing, the situations they found themselves in amazing, and the entire society amazing. Did I mention I thought the book was amazing? I thought it would be hard to top Jennifer Government, or to even equal it, in fact, but Company managed one of the two quite well (Make up your mind which it is). The twists were twisty, the humor humorous, and the drama dramatic. The image of reality was so well crafted that I felt myself believing it. I could imaging myself working alongside Elizabeth or Holly, I've had friends who scream Sydney, and (Highly disturbing) I saw a bit of myself in Freddy (With a touch of Roger thrown in). I've said it before, but this is one damn fine piece of work.

I only saw one problem (I'm sorry Max, nobody's perfect and this really is pretty damn tiny). When Zephyr 'consolidates' and the crowd of suddenly ex-employees is milling about, they'd be pissed off right from the start. I'm not saying they'd instantly start screaming and rioting, or that they'd even do anything more grumble silently as they walk away, but they wouldn't accept it calmly and blame themselves. Hell, I could even take the fact that they accept it calmly, but accepting the blame is to much. It was perfectly captured in Jennifer Government when Billy was canned, the others guys didn't really do anything but they did admit to themselves and the others that it wasn't right that they got fired. They were upset over it. The Zephyr employees don't even argue or think that it's not their fault, when told they don't deserve to be fired one man is actually suprised at the thought. No matter how deserved it is, when people are fired from a job they want to keep (No matter how crappy that job is) they don't tell themselves and those around them that it's all their fault. Even if it's nothing more than saying management sucks and made the wrong move, they'd do something.

But that was only one single piece of the book, which only occupied a fraction of the pages, and the rest was totally awesome. Max, take it from me, a college student who's never published a thing and has absolutely no influence or experience in the literary world, you're on the right track man. Damn fine book, damn fine predecessors, and (hopefully) damn fine successors.
Reploid Productions
29-01-2006, 22:28
Well, remember about the consolidation... these aren't normal employees, they've been toyed with and/or brainwashed for the past X number of years at Zephyr. Psychological manipulation can do a lot to someone!
29-01-2006, 23:54
A good point, but don't forget that...uh...don't forget...well...okay, I got nothing. But I'm sure there's something of relevance here that I should point out that will both crush your argument and elevate myself to victory. Surely Max would not betray me by leaving such a piece of evidence out of his story.
Reploid Productions
30-01-2006, 06:24
*snicker* I think anybody who works in anything remotely resembling a corporate setting can appreciate the book. Hell, just the stuff on the book flap convinced my sister's boyfriend (who's IT manager for a small financial firm) to buy a copy of it ^_^

And honestly? Eve is my bastard mod alter-ego's idol now or something. Ruthless (though emotionally messed up) bitch! =D
31-01-2006, 00:25
And she can always find the bright side of every situation. Just look at the very end; she's spent so much time in the hopsital and she's still happy that she got a free nose job.
05-02-2006, 02:46
When Zephyr 'consolidates' and the crowd of suddenly ex-employees is milling about, they'd be pissed off right from the start.
Sorry, Klonor, I have to disagree. Company was one of those 'do I laugh or do I cry?' stories for me. I've been in that milling crowd myself, and Max captured the emotions pretty much exactly.

Was I pissed? Personally, yes, but as a member of a mob, absolutely not. First, he's right in the fact that there has to be a catalyst to set off a mob. When you're standing in that crowd, you're surrounded by defeat. Everyone else out there was equally inconsequential to the well-being of the company. It's a time for introspection, self-flagellation, and 'get me the hell out of here' thoughts.

There's something emotionally draining about looking at exterior walls, knowing that you no longer have a working keycard, and that door remains forever locked to you. There's also the sense that despite the reasons for your release (in my case, the entire department was declared redundant). you're personally responsible for the failure. Add to that the sense of relief that you feel from knowing the decision you've dreaded has been finally and irrevocably made, and you've got a recipe for indifference and depression that even mob psychology has trouble overcoming.

I just finished my first read-through of Company this afternoon, and I'll have to read it again in a week or two to delve into some of the aspects that are entirely relevant to my current life as a corporate peon. First pass thoughts - Max has insights into the corporate world far beyond what I would expect from a solitary writer working alone in his home office. Jones is Dilbert, but armed with sharp pointy weapons that bite and stick. Scary.

Bravo, Max.
08-02-2006, 01:02
Fris, I'll have to take your word for that. I've never been party to any type of massive lay-off, all my firings have been....have know, come to think of it, I've never actually been fired, either. Wow. Score one for the paternally employed!
The Most Glorious Hack
09-02-2006, 10:18
I've never been laid off like that, but the characterization seemed perfectly accurate to me. Mobs don't riot without being pushed, after all, and the people in that mob had already had their souls crushed by Zephyr's mechanations. They probably didn't have the energy to riot until they were pushed.

A fine read, I have to say. My copy arrived a few days ago, but I didn't crack it open until last night. Over the course of the next 8 hours -- off and on, I don't read that slowly -- I finished it. Not sure where to rank this, but it's threatening to take the top spot from Syrup.

And Max? You're a viscous bastard. Eliminating chapter breaks makes it really hard to stop reading. I stayed at the diner an extra 90 minutes because I couldn't find a good place to stop so I could go home (and resume reading).
09-02-2006, 20:23
Well, like I said, I don't mean to say that they'll be breaking down the doors of the building, just mildly upset. They didn't seem to think that they had any right to even complain until they were pushed, shocked that someone would dare suggest it wasn't their fault.
The SunMoon Empire
12-02-2006, 04:49
The only bookstore within twenty miles of my house is a Books-A-Million where the employees will often tell you, "It must be out of print." By that, of course, they mean they do not carry it and don't you dare look in a rival store or *gasp* a public library. Like I have a choice. Ah, well.
13-02-2006, 00:56
Guess I'm just lucky. Where I live, it's the kinda book that they keep at the front of the store (although I didn't see it immediatly. The person I asked really POed me. She told me (1)that the Store didn't carry it, and (2)the wrong location of "adult fiction" and "humor."
The Most Glorious Hack
13-02-2006, 03:27
The only bookstore within twenty miles of my house is a Books-A-Million where the employees will often tell you, "It must be out of print."Tell them they're full of shit and demand that they either find it or order a copy.
19-02-2006, 18:51
Tell them they're full of shit and demand that they either find it or order a copy.

Blouman Empire
01-10-2008, 16:19
Of course, I then read it (After the movie) and loved it all the more. Just finished it a few hours ago, in fact, and am still giggling slightly.

After the movie? What movie?
01-10-2008, 17:13
Underworld: Evolution, which is why I went to the mall in the first place.
Blouman Empire
02-10-2008, 00:54
Underworld: Evolution, which is why I went to the mall in the first place.

oops, I missed that part.