[I've been 
reading]

Sewer, Gas & Electric   book icon  
by Matt Ruff (1997)

read: 30 October 2002
rating: [+]
category: uncategorized

First off, this book of somewhat speculative fiction begins with a dedication to Ayn Rand. And yet, I read it because it is one of my sister’s favorite books and I trust her judgment. It’s not a heavy read. It takes place in a world a few decades in the future where huge beast inhabit the sewers and rich people build towers miles into the sky. And all Black people were wiped out by a virus a few decades back and only a few remain in isolated hamlets. The Black people you see around exist as machine servants made to look human called Electric Negroes. The dark-skinned versions were apparently more popular than the lighter skinned ones. I had a hard time getting around this set of premises, though I enjoyed the book. I just spent a lot of time thinking to myself “is Ruff a racist?” "Is Ruff a Libertarian?"

The answer to those questions doesn’t matter too much -- though Ayn Rand does show up as a character in the book -- and the story itself is a bit of a romp with a lot of weird character, sentient machines and odd goings-on. There is a nutty superhero guy, a quirky rich guy, an environmentalist theme and a cross-dressing 168 year old woman; knowing all that information should give you a good idea as to whether this is your type of book or not.

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