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So anyway,
Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
Book review: PopCo 
3rd-Apr-2011 03:13 pm
Sutherlavatar
Having enjoyed Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y I tried her earlier book, PopCo. Alice is a creative at a toy company, chosen as one of a couple of hundred employees to be sequestered at a country mansion and come up with a new craze for teenage girls. While there she receives a few coded messages which start her off remembering her own teenage years. In some ways the grown-up version of a boys' own story about buried pirate treasure, the first half of the book is actually very enjoyable with lots of background to cryptography and cryptanalysis. Unfortunately once again all of Thomas' credibility goes out the window once she starts waxing lyrical, at length, about the wonders of homeopathy. In Mr Y at least this wasn't too noticeable because that was essentially a fantasy story so having some of it turn around potions is par for the course; but here we're ostensibly in a real-world environment of corporate-speak and big business. So having this maths genius narrating the story inform us that when she catches a cold it always lasts for an unusually long time it's hard to think anything other than MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE YOU ONLY TRY TO CURE IT WITH MAGIC WATER! By the time the book ends as a heavy-handed anti-corporate rant I found it really quite a disappointment given its strong start.
Comments 
3rd-Apr-2011 06:18 pm (UTC)
Glad to know you at least enjoyed The End of Mr Y; I bought it after reading Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas, which I loved, even though that book also slightly suffers from the same awkward combination of insightful analysis and pseudo science.
I haven't read your review of The End of Mr Y to avoid possible spoilers; it's the next book on my readinglist. I'll decide whether I'll buy another one of her books after that. For now PopCo doesn't sound too appealing.
3rd-Apr-2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
I had a look, my Mr Y review isn't spoilery, it's shorter than this one if anything. I might have a look at Our Tragic Universe at some point if it's more like that than like PopCo but probably not for some time, until I've forgotten about how much this one irritated me.
14th-May-2011 02:11 pm (UTC)
Finished The End Of Mr Y and finally read your review to compare. I liked the initial story, but must admit I was a little disappointed in the end, especially because of the amount of fantasy involved.
Mr Y is a very different story from My Tragic Universe, with the exception of also having a leading female character and lots of conversations about (pseudo) science, it's more settled in reality. From your review above I gather PopCo might be less fantastical than Mr Y and I now suspect I would like that better. So I'm putting it on my booklist.
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