Review: The Oblivion Society by Marcus Alexander Hart

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Oblivion Society by Marcus Alexander Hart (cover)
"The Oblivion Society" by Marcus Alexander Hart
Edition 2.0
Permuted Press, 2007
$15.95 Trade Paperback
300 pages, ISBN: 0976555956
What do Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski have to do with the apocalypse?  Not much, outside of inspiring the tryst that brings it on.  And, as in this review, you won't see them again after the introduction.  "The Oblivion Society" is a hilarious post-dot-com, energy-drink-fueled apocalyptic romp with some fun science (somewhat abused) and clever characterizations.  
The book is populated by a group of late teen/early twenties geeks, goths, and jocks.  They form a ragged party trying to survive in the newly-barren urban wilderness, all the while, of course, either trying to find themselves, or finding themselves despite their best efforts not to.  And strange creatures are starting to come out of the woodwork...
The story's about the characters, and that's where the conflicts and arcs shine, and where the one-liners string together page after page.  A lot of the jokes were targeted for the comic- and sci-fi-geek audience, and I did find one or two fell flat when I didn't get the reference, but I got most of the references without being exceptionally well-versed, and I was laughing uproariously through most of the book.  And I don't mean laughing uproariously "on the inside".
If it lacked for anything, it might have been in the somewhat lack-luster plot--but really, when your city's been nuked and the only sign of civilization is a children's show being broadcast on a loop, all you can do is wander and hope.  They were off to see the wizard, but had no idea where to find him--and by the end of the book, after many personal and physical conflicts, they realized they didn't really need to find anyone else, anyway.  
Both a video trailer and the first 82 pages of the book are available on came across it myself from a Project Wonderful ad on GUD Magazine's website, read the first few pages and immediately asked them for a review copy.  It was everything the teaser made me hope for, and more.

- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by kaolin

33 comments; 0 subscribers

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 10:04:34
If you were doomed to survive the apocalypse --which of the following characters would you be? Tell us for an entry into our raffle. Contest open to U.S./Canada shipping addresses; closes on March 31 (midnight pacific time).

Stuck in a mind-numbing job, Vivian Gray can feel her underutilized brain shriveling faster than the Spice Girls' record sales. Gifted with a high IQ and a sharp sense of reason, the only thing holding Vivian back is her own paralyzing apathy.

Nick Aspen is the poster boy for... well, for anything. A professional model specializing in on-site product promotion, he may be hawking chocolate cupcakes one day and diet pills the next. Nick isn't just a pretty boy out of vanity. It's his job.

Verman Boltzmann is the manager of the local grocery store. Incompetent, chauvinistic, and drunk with power, "the Vermanator" is a portrait of a high school football star twenty years later. Verman believes that the customer is always right, even when all available evidence points to the contrary.

Bobby Gray is Vivian's twin brother, though he definitely received the short end of the genetic stick. Obsessive about new technology, he litters his world with bleeding edge electronics while he waits anxiously for the next big thing to come along. As an unemployed web programmer, Bobby has been freeloading at his sister's place, but soon the fizzling of the dot-com economy will become the least of his troubles.

Sunny Sasaki is the kind of bartender who seems to know everybody on the continent on a first name basis. After failing out of nursing school, she realized that the universal cure came not from a pharmacy, but from a cocktail shaker. With the body of a goddess and the charm of the girl next door, Sunny is out of your league, no matter what league you're in.

Erik Sievert is a man with a past. Or rather, a man in the past. As the consummate retro-geek, he shuns all pop culture that has transpired since the end of the 1980s. Working as a clerk at a dusty old collectables shop allows Erik to live in the state where he is the most comfortable. Denial.

Sherri Becquerel is one of a kind, and if you tell her otherwise you'll be collecting your teeth from the sidewalk. Rarely seen without a malt liquor in one hand and a cigarette in the other, she has a self-destructive streak that rivals that of Evel Knievel. Anti-establishment and belligerently individualistic, Sherri is, to put it lightly, difficult to get along with.

((note--not all of them survive the apocalypse))
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 10:51:56
only US/canada entries? Ouch! I really wanted this one. I'll post my preference anyway.
I'd probably be a male Vivian Gray, but the likes of Susan and Sherry are the ones sure to have fun. Gender aside, I'd go for Sherry-in-the-apocalypse, a ton-sur-ton character bound to happen in a total destruction scenario near you.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 11:54:17
Prolly Sherri, although my wife might be concerned that I am now a woman.

To be fair, I would mostly likely rather be myself. I know what it takes to get the job done.

I do, after all fight zombies on a regular basis.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 14:55:39
By a process of elimination I would have to be Vivian (although I could be a female Erik)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 15:11:21
I would be most like Vivian Gray although none of them are very close to being like me.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 15:14:46
I'd most likely be like Vivian.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 18:23:18
I would have to say: Bobby

Just looking at my interests and his, they seem somewhat the same. ha :P
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 18:42:44
I would be Erik Sievert he seems so interesting. I love that he's into collectables!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 19:38:21
I would have to be Erik Sievert; he as an 80's expert would have a vast knowledge of useless, but some very useful trivia that the others wouldn't know....


he just sounds like me in a male body!! haha
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 20:23:52
I can't really relate to any of these, but I'd WANT to be Nick Aspen. He probably dies, but I'm sure the world isn't that great a place after Doomsday, and you might as well make a pretty corpse!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 / 21:30:00
vivian sounds like me, i don't have her iq, but i do have "paralyzing apathy"
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 05:07:32
I guess I'll go with Nick Aspen although an iq
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 08:13:31
This book sounds like so much fun. I would be Sherri Becquerel. I am nothing like her but she sounds like a fun character.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 09:59:48
I would be Vivian Gray. Cool characters.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 13:14:59
I'd be Sunny Sasaki. She knows who she is and probably knows how to take care of herself.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 13:49:12
If Erik and Sherri had a baby, that would be my character.
Hell, I'm still trying to get the dough to download a GUD issue. Maybe I can steal a copy of this book...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 16:50:59
I would be Vivian Gray. great characters
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 / 19:00:46
I need to be Eric Sievert.
Friday, March 21, 2008 / 04:39:33
Bobby Grey; technology is sweet!
Friday, March 21, 2008 / 14:14:05
Vivian, I'm kind of "that" geek!
Sunday, March 23, 2008 / 09:00:04
I would be most like Vivian Gray. We sound a lot alike.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 / 22:06:35
A cross between Sunny Sasaki and Bobby Gray... book sounds interesting!
Thursday, March 27, 2008 / 13:16:43
I'm going with Sunny Sasaki
Friday, March 28, 2008 / 11:21:08
I would be Erik probably. This book sounds like a hoot.
Friday, March 28, 2008 / 18:57:14
Eric Sievert is me.
Friday, March 28, 2008 / 23:18:25
i'd be Sunny Sasaki, cuz i've always wanted to be a bartender!
Saturday, March 29, 2008 / 00:17:36
Erik for sure
Sunday, March 30, 2008 / 07:44:12
i really like Sherri Becquerel she sounds like a bad-ass!
Sunday, March 30, 2008 / 14:09:49
I think I'd be Vivian.
Sunday, March 30, 2008 / 19:51:16
Vivian would be the closest.
Sunday, March 30, 2008 / 21:40:18
I'm one of the Gray triplets (they didn't tell you there were three of us) with Vivian's IQ and numbing apathy, and Bobby's techno-obsessive approach (although I'm more likely to be out there making "the next big thing" happen, actually)...

Have to go back up-thread and double-check -- hope you have more than one of these books, 'cause one of 'em should be MINE! And many thx!
Monday, March 31, 2008 / 03:53:28
I think I'd be Vivian.
Monday, March 31, 2008 / 04:03:17
I'd be a cross between Vivian Gray, her brother and Sunny Sasaki.
There's a little of me in all 3.

Do you have a comment? Log in or Register; registration is quick, painless, free, and spam-free (unless you ask for it)