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The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
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The Gone-Away World (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Nick Harkaway

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1,176686,861 (4.16)148
Member:faganjc
Title:The Gone-Away World
Authors:Nick Harkaway
Info:Knopf (2008), Hardcover, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (2008)

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» See also 148 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
It seems like the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre is becoming more popular lately. The bulk of these, as tends to happen, are perhaps not awful, but tend to run along similar lines, with similar characters and similar worlds; and some of these in turn spawn another wave, and etc... In any case, there are plenty of post-apocalyptic novels out there, some of them very good and well-written, classics even; most of them the usual redundancies, or vapid variations on a theme...

Agh, no. Bad! No ranting! Sorry. Sorry.

Anyway. This is not one of those books of the second type, if not exactly a classic. Its characters, writing, and world are entertaining, often comic, but not to the point of silliness. Sure, there are no end of improbable elements--evil ninjas, nightmare creatures made real, feats of heroism and villainy, and a talking mime (spokesman for the peripatetic Matahuxee Mime Combine). Which surely leaves out quite a bit, but just read the book. Anyway, like I was saying, the ridiculous cooperates nicely with the serious (death, un-war ["...some kind of hyper-violent peace in which people will die."], regular war, friendship, family, alienation, genocide, moral dilemmas...questions of identity, humanity, reality...and so on. (Yeah, the author has a degree in philosophy.) Anyway, there are goodly helpings of shenanigans and bravado, intermixed with loyalty and loss, spiced with wit and generously laced with truth. [A little much..? Sorry, it's getting on lunchtime.]

So, yeah. It's worth your time. I promise. It's a fun ride, and chances are you'll learn something as well. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
It seems like the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre is becoming more popular lately. The bulk of these, as tends to happen, are perhaps not awful, but tend to run along similar lines, with similar characters and similar worlds; and some of these in turn spawn another wave, and etc... In any case, there are plenty of post-apocalyptic novels out there, some of them very good and well-written, classics even; most of them the usual redundancies, or vapid variations on a theme...

Agh, no. Bad! No ranting! Sorry. Sorry.

Anyway. This is not one of those books of the second type, if not exactly a classic. Its characters, writing, and world are entertaining, often comic, but not to the point of silliness. Sure, there are no end of improbable elements--evil ninjas, nightmare creatures made real, feats of heroism and villainy, and a talking mime (spokesman for the peripatetic Matahuxee Mime Combine). Which surely leaves out quite a bit, but just read the book. Anyway, like I was saying, the ridiculous cooperates nicely with the serious (death, un-war ["...some kind of hyper-violent peace in which people will die."], regular war, friendship, family, alienation, genocide, moral dilemmas...questions of identity, humanity, reality...and so on. (Yeah, the author has a degree in philosophy.) Anyway, there are goodly helpings of shenanigans and bravado, intermixed with loyalty and loss, spiced with wit and generously laced with truth. [A little much..? Sorry, it's getting on lunchtime.]

So, yeah. It's worth your time. I promise. It's a fun ride, and chances are you'll learn something as well. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
The world is a crazy place. Money and politics can lead to war and every war creates new technological advancements. During the Gone-Away War the worst possible weapon is created; a bomb that makes everything go away. It takes away the information from everything it touches. Little did the scientists know that the world would try and correct itself with new information pulled from the imagination.

The narrator takes us on a wild and amusing journey through his life both past and present, but is it his life?

This is an anti-war, dystopian, martial arts, alternate universe, unreliable narrator novel with mimes and pirates. The author manages to pull all these threads together to create a very enjoyable story. Nick Harkaway is the kind of writer that you would love reading no matter what he writes. His writing is descriptive and humorous.

I admit I like Harkaway’s second novel "Angelmaker" more than this one. If he keeps improving with each novel I can’t wait to read his next one. ( )
  craso | Dec 23, 2013 |
Not sure how to really categorize this book. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was some kind of mix between Vonnegut, Heinlein, and Dumas....or something. I'm hiding the review because there were other reviews I read that had enough spoilers in them to send me in the direction of the novel. There is a twist in the book about 2/3rds of the way in and the narrator is unnamed. That is enough to give away the twist, not really before it happens, but while it is happening - which is bad enough.
I thought that the twist of the narrator being "new" was handled about as well as it could have been - but I'm still thinking about whether or not it was necessary. I guess it probably was to humanize the new people. The structure and the pacing of the novel were good enough to keep me moving along and there were many funny moments. I think it could have dug deeper in the satirical without making such easy jokes as laughing at corporate culture. That is too easy to satirize. However, I give it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
This is the kind of book that might sound slightly more bonkers than it actually is when described. Because yes, these six hundred pages ARE filled with ninjas, pirate monks, college freedom fighters turned into porn stars, mutant bees, mysterious mimes with a political agenda, quarreling spice merchants and a doomsday weapon that just makes the enemy Go Away. And yes, this is a version of post-apocalypse where the only thing that keeps the scraps of humanity from being torn asunder by their own nightmares is the presence of a substance sprayed into the air from a huge pipeline, around which they all live.

But Nick Harkaway’s stroy telling talent is such that the all-over-the-place type of imagination here never falls into the trap of plain silliness. Rather, this is a pageturner dealing with themes like dignity, humanity and the price for freedom and safety. Funny at times, though,absolutely. But also moving, gripping, and ever so slightly creepy.

Gonzo Lubitsch and his friend, our narrator, are part of a trouble shooter team, specialising in dealing with leaks on the Jorgmund Pipe, the backbone that’s crucial to keep the monsters at bey and the slim ”normal” zone liveable. But the leak they are set to deal with now is bigger than anything they’ve dealt with before – a raging fire at one of the main stations. As if that wasn’t enough several of the towns in the area have had their population just anish without a trace. And right before borading the brand new trucks given to them as part of the assignment, our narrator gets a phone call – warning him not to take the job. But how could he stop larger than life Gonzo, the best friend he’s lived in the shadow of his entire life?

Despite not having the time to devour it like it deserves, I had a great time with this unusual and though-provoking brick. At one point towards the end I felt worried it would never manage to bring it all home in a satisfactory fashion. But then it does, steeply but without feeling stressed at all. My only minor complaint is that I would have wanted to know a bit more about some things, that just feels a little brushed over. In a book of six hundred pages, that’s actually something in itself! ( )
6 vote GingerbreadMan | Oct 21, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nick Harkawayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Biavasco, AnnamariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guani, ValentinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
This, I did.

-- T.E. Lawrence
Dedication
For my parents.
You know who you are.
First words
The lights went out in the Nameless Bar just after nine.
Quotations
The tree of nonsense is watered with error, and from its branches swing the pumpkins of disaster.
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Alternate Title: The Wages of Gonzo Lubitsch
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307389073, Paperback)

A hilarious, action-packed look at the apocalypse that combines a touching tale of friendship, a thrilling war story, and an all out kung-fu infusedmission to save the world.Gonzo Lubitch and his best friend have been inseparable since birth. They grew up together, they studiedmartial arts together, they rebelled in college together, and they fought in the Go-Away War together. Now, with the world in shambles and dark nightmarish clouds billowing over the wastelands, they have been tapped for an incredibly perilous mission. But they quickly realize that this assignment is not all it seems, and before it is over they will have encountered everything from mimes, ninjas, and pirates to one ultra-sinister mastermind, whose only goal is world domination. Unlike anything else, The Gone-Away World is a remarkable literary debut that will be remembered and rediscovered for years to come.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:55 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Gonzo Lubitsch and his best friend have been inseparable since birth. They grew up together, they studied kung-fu together, they rebelled in college together, and they fought in the Go Away War together. Now, with the world in shambles and dark, nightmarish clouds billowing over the wastelands, they have been tapped for an incredibly perilous mission. But quickly they see that this assignment is more complex than it seems, and before it is over they will have encountered everything from mimes, ninjas, and pirates to one ultra-sinister mastermind, whose only goal is world domination.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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