Viewport width =
May 7, 2007 | by  | in Books |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Otherwise Pandemonium

Hey! There’s a combination of Nick Hornby, paper molecules, Pocket Penguin, ink, the number three and a whole lot of words! It looks like a book! I was right, it is, and it’s titled Otherwise Pandemonium! Wow! What a cool name! And it’s totally about crazy VCRs (in the days when names like ‘United Video’ actually meant something) and the end of the world. And, like, pornography!

Nick Hornby is probably best known for writing books that get made into movies starring puppy dogs masquerading as famous actors – see High Fidelity, with the dreamy John Cusack, or the more recent About a Boy, with a middle-aged Hugh Grant (the book of which contains many more Nirvana references than the movie, explaining the title). He does actually write books, not just movie scripts. Here we have two short stories (according to the blurb, one written especially for this volume – how nice).

Numero uno (title story) concerns a 15-year-old boy and his 15-year-old world, in what I assume to be the nineties given that they don’t seem to have anything normal, like cellphones or computers. There’s a video machine that is a little odd, and a bad ending. But our 15-year-old friend gets laid, so he’s pretty chuffed.

It’s a decent story, if a well-worn concept; the one thing that got me was that it loses its timelessness (an important plot point) when it mentions Friends, which finished a few years ago now.

Numero deux (titled Not a Star – no, this doesn’t have anything to do with astrophysics) also concerns videos – of a more illicit kind. Ugh. Imagine if one of the ‘actors’ was very familiar…

Hornby’s an interesting one. His writing is a little too mundane for me. I guess I’m a romantic escapist, and it isn’t like he concerns himself with the problems of the world. But he does do what he does well, and that is to offer insights into real people and the real way we live. He’s accessible and that’s not always a good thing – sometimes he’s a stones throw from someone like Ben Elton. But he’s easy to read, gentle on the tired old grey matter but not disgustingly fluffy. A little bit of this, a little of that. But at $5 (or maybe it’s $4.95?) it ain’t going to kill you to try him out.


Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. Laneway: Luck of the Draw
  2. Cuttin’ it with with Miss June
  3. SWAT
  4. Ravished by the Living Embodiment of All Our University Woes
  5. New Zealand’s First Rainbow Crossing is Here (and Queer)
  6. Chloe Has a Yarn About Mental Health
  7. “Stick with Vic” Makes “Insulting” and “Upsetting” Comments
  8. Presidential Address
  9. Final Review
  10. Tears Fall, and Sea Levels Rise

Editor's Pick

This Ain’t a Scene it’s a Goddamned Arm Wrestle

: Interior – Industrial Soviet Beerhall – Night It was late November and cold as hell when I stumbled into the Zhiguli Beer Hall. I was in Moscow, about to take the trans-Mongolian rail line to Beijing, and after finding someone in my hostel who could speak English, had decided