Will "Bald New World" Have You Running For Cover?

Bald New WorldTitle:  Bald New World
Author:  Peter Tieryas Liu
Format:  ERC
Length:  215 pages
Publisher:  Perfect Edge Books
Rating:  3.5 Stars

Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Science Fiction Books of Summer 2014 and listed on Buzzfeed's 15 Highly Anticipated Books of 2014, Bald New World asks the question:
What if everyone in the world lost their hair? 

Nick Guan and his friend Larry Chao are a pair of eccentric filmmakers who choose to explore the existential angst of their balding world through cinema. Larry is heir to one of the most lucrative wig companies in the world. Nick is a man who’s trying to make sense of the tatters of his American dream. Taking place throughout China and America, the pair set off on a series of misadventures involving North Korean spies, veterans of an African War, and digital cricket fighters. Their journey leads them to discover some of the darkest secrets behind wig-making and hair in a hairless world.
"After my heart gives out and I'm on the operating table for emergency surgery, I will have told my physicians and surgeons to replace my heart with Peter Tieryas Liu's Bald New World, or any of his books really, because that's what I think of when I think of Liu's writing--heart. Similar to the work of Philip K. Dick, this parodic dystopia is steeped in futuristic technology that further bridges the gap between man and machine. Still, whether watching the latest episode of the immensely popular reality show Jesus the General or sparring against an opponent in the blood-sport known as cricket fighting, the humanity of our narrator shines through. Although we humans are capable of doing and creating sad, funny, glorious, devious things, we also persevere and adapt, survive. I wonder what Huxley would think of this, but he's dead. You're not, so read this book, feel alive."
-Jason Jordan, author of Pestilence, editor of decomP

"The boldly imaginative Bald New World follows Nicholas Guan, a military type tasked to digitally touch up scenes of carnage, in his misadventures from Korea to a futuristic California and in his frenzied dash from Gamble Town to China . The novel tells of beautifully flawed characters, the blurring distinction between reality and virtual environments, the comical yet chilling wave of religious fanaticism, and a world battling a strange malady called the Great Baldification, an ingenious symbol of human vanity. Peter Tieryas Liu’s Bald New World is vivid, exhilarating, and wildly entertaining." –Kristine Ong Muslim, author of We Bury the Landscape and Grim Series

"Bald New World is a hypnotic, surreal, and insightful novel, blending Blade Runner and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle to create a dark, funny, and captivating story. One of the best books I've read this year."—Richard Thomas, Staring Into the Abyss. -Goodreads

My Thoughts
Bald New World ushers readers into a world gone unexpectedly and irreversibly bald.  Where big business trumps Big Brother and the 'cult of personality' has become the newest religion.
Peter Tieryas Liu builds the perfect world in this novel.  One so full of both opposing and complementary sights, sounds, personas, and experiences that one doesn't read about this world, but is instead engulfed by it.

For the most part the visceral experience provided by the author's 'bright lights, big city' approach to world building is a very good thing.
Except that is when it causes one to lose the who's what's and wherefore's of main characters Nick and Larry.
And what is to be said for two intrepid filmmakers left to their own devices with very deep pockets and no idea what they are on about.
Well, there is where the problem lies.
Though the adventures and scrapes in which they find themselves are entertaining, they cause the story's plotline to wander and even chase its own tail at times.
There is also a rather tragic lack of relatablity between Nick, Larry, and the audience.  They come off as very nice young men, but there is nothing about them that would make one fight to read that extra line if the decision to do so was based on their merits alone.

Bald New World is a brave new voice in the dystopic genre.  Loaded with snark, cheek, and social satire, this is definitely a read to watch.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds pretty intense! Hadn't heard of it before. I tagged you in the Opposite Book Tag. If you want to seem my post, it is HERE.


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