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Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy (Public Works Trilogy) (original 1997; edition 2004)

by Matt Ruff

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8461710,672 (3.9)17
Member:herzogbr
Title:Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy (Public Works Trilogy)
Authors:Matt Ruff
Info:Grove Press (2004), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:2007-07, fiction, humor, future, futuristic, environmental, capitalism, activism, science-fiction, scifi, cyberpunk, ayn rand, utpoian, dystopia

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Sewer, Gas & Electric by Matt Ruff (1997)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
An irritating mix of hippy-dippy and Ayn Rand - couldn't be bothered to finish it. ( )
  SChant | Apr 26, 2013 |
It's hard to summarise this wilfully chaotic, amusingly energetic book. On the surface we get a near future consipracy thriller starring: one Harry Gant, a dreamer billionaire who is addicted to building the worlds highest skyscrapers, his ex-wife who is investigating some Gant industries suspicous deaths and her two sidekicks: Ayn Rand (yes the author) and a one armed 181 year old civil war veteran. But then we also get stuff about mutant sewer sharks, eco pirates marauding around in Howard Hughes's old submarine, a racist plague and ironic homicides.

Yes it is the ideas that make this book, there are so many characters and subplots and fun asides that I found it hard to worry about the so so but admittedly amusing plot. Unfortunately this chaos does makes it a hard book to read for long periods, which doesn't make it a bad book just an very odd one. There is a lot here and Ruff doesn't seem to want to keep a tight rein on any of it (Note it's quite different from his two later books I have read)

Also he does spend quite a while taking the mickey out of Ann Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which was still amusing even though I have never read it.. Of course Ayn Rand fans and fanatical capitalists may want to skip this one.

Overall recommend for lovers of the weird. ( )
  clfisha | May 4, 2010 |
ZB5
  mcolpitts | Aug 1, 2009 |
After an eight-year hiatus (his 1988 novel, Fool on the Hill, became an underground hit), Ruff proves himself still capable of wild-eyed flights of fancy as he pits altruists against antihuman robots in an updated version of Atlas Shrugged above and below the streets of Manhattan. In the year 2023, visionary zillionaire industrialist Harry Gant is building a new Tower of Babel, uptown; his crusading ex-wife Joan is on a search-and-destroy effort in the city sewers, seeking a mutant Jaws-like shark named Meisterbrau; eco-terrorist Philo Dufresne, one of the few blacks remaining after the race-specific pandemic of '04, leads the brilliant, eccentric crew of the submarine Yabba-Dabba-Doo on a nonviolent attack against a Gant-owned ship to save Antarctica; Anderson Teaneck, Wall Street takeover specialist, also with a bead on Gant Industries, is murdered, perhaps by one of his servant robots--who are all carefully programmed, supposedly, to be harmless. Joan has a close encounter with Meisterbrau that leaves them intact but the East River in flames, then is enlisted to solve the Teaneck mystery, a mission that takes her into the heart of a plot hatched by a psychopath and his creation, an artificial brain sheltered in a bunker under Disneyland. Joan also ends up with the querulous companionship of Ayn Rand, reduced to a holograph on a hurricane lamp. Philo and crew, meanwhile, are threatened by the vengeful scheme of a Gant subordinate, as they willingly enter a trap to save what may be the world's last lemurs. Several torpedoes, robot assaults, philosophical debates, and an earthquake later, all is again reasonably right with the world. A careening riot to read, even with all of its zestful improbabilities: Ruffs second novel can only enhance his reputation as a fantasy writer with imagination to burn.
(Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 1996) ( )
  juntaobrien | Dec 9, 2008 |
A fun light read. ( )
  gregandlarry | Jan 4, 2008 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
It's very strange for me to look at your generation. You see, we always had this idea that each generation was going to be brighter, cheer more for justice and more for peace. But my youngest son, who's 16, says to me, "Dad, you're so quaint and romantic. You think things are going to get better, that there's hope." he says, "but none of us believe this." And then he tells me how half the world is going to be wiped out by AIDS, how the polar icecap is going to melt, that the tropical rainforest will be gone in 30 years and we won't have any oxygen, which doesn't matter anyway since the nuclear holocaust is going to happen within 7 years, and if I'm a little doubtful about the dates, he says he can prove it to me on his computer...In my view, if the next generation is going to make some contribution it'll be the discovery of how you struggle for social change without having any hope. In the 60's, you see, when you jumped on the earth, the earth jumped back just like Einstein said it would. We knew we'd win every battle because every day we grew up. Every day was a new day and being on the brink of the Apocalpyse was romantic. But maybe this vision that you have is the more realistic of the two..."
Abbie Hoffman at the University of South Carolina, 1987
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For Ayn Rand
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No one could say he hadn't been warned.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802141552, Paperback)

Sewer, Gas & Electric is the exuberant follow-up to Matt Ruff's cult classic and critically acclaimed debut Fool on the Hill.
High above Manhattan android and human steelworkers are constructing a new Tower of Babel for billionaire Harry Gant, as a monument to humanity's power to dream. In the festering sewers below a darker game is afoot: a Wall Street takeover artist has been murdered, and Gant's crusading ex-wife, Joan Fine, has been hired to find out why. The year is 2023, and Ayn Rand has been resurrected and bottled in a hurricane lamp to serve as Joan's assistant; an eco-terrorist named Philo Dufrense travels in a pink-and-green submarine designed by Howard Hughes; a Volkswagen Beetle is possessed by the spirit of Abbie Hoffman; Meisterbrau, a mutant great white shark, is running loose in the sewers beneath Times Square; and a one-armed 181-year-old Civil War veteran joins Joan and Ayn in their quest for the truth. All of whom, and many more besides, are caught up in a vast conspiracy involving Walt Disney, J. Edgar Hoover, and a mob of homicidal robots.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:09 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A computer-generated plague sweeps the world, killing every black person in sight. This is one of a number of doomsday events contained in this futuristic novel where mayhem follows mayhem. In another, a shark is creating havoc in New York's sewer system.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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