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Dear Cyborgs: A Novel by Eugene Lim

Dear Cyborgs: A Novel (2017)

by Eugene Lim

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Two lonely Asian boys living in the American midwest bond over a shared love of comic books. Three superheroes meet for lunch and swap stories. A woman leaves her husband and young child and joins a protest. A mysterious supervillain named Ms. Mistleto haunts her adversary's thoughts.

There's no linear story here, no way to give a tidy synopsis of the plot. People meet and tell each other stories in which they meet someone and tell stories. I've run into descriptions of this book that compare it to reading four random comic books in a longer series, or to the act of internet browsing, where one thing leads to another and you end up reading about Japanese internment camps after starting out with a trailer from the newest Marvel movie.

This book is all about the journey, where each segment is another interesting, yet tangential off-shoot of the one before. Eugene Lim's writing is clear and direct, which makes the random nature of this short novel an enjoyable journey. And, yes, he does sort of tie everything together in the end, in a way that is both clever and suits the novel well. It's a book where the journey is the point, not the destination. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Mar 1, 2018 |
"Today's puzzler. Enforced inescapable automatic insidious complicity. On the horizon no viable just alternative and no path toward one. All proposals thus far fanciful, impossible, doomed." And so opens the story of Vu and his friend, the unnamed narrator, two Asian kids living in Ohio and feeling like outcasts at school.
Facing bigotry and xenophobia, they find solace in comic books. Up to the narrator moving out of the neighborhood, it was a run of the mill coming of age story. What happened after that, I'm not quite sure. I truly believe there is a story within these pages but the fog is so dense I wasn't able to see it. The story became confusing and ungrounded. The names of new characters were dropped but seemed one dimensional. Without connections, the remainder of the story consisted of words. If you remain for the conclusion, you may come to realize, as I did, that there is, indeed, a story within these pages. Now, that the reader feels as if there is a foundation, a second read may reveal the entire story. ( )
  Carmenere | Feb 13, 2018 |
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We are not machines!

Catch me solving mysteries like Wikipedia Brown.
It's the future get down.
We make a sound even if nobody's around.
For Joanna and Felix
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Dear Cyborgs,
Today's puzzler.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A fractal fable about the possibility and power of protest as told by three superheroes on their lunch break In a small Midwestern town, two Asian American boys bond over their outcast status and a mutual love of comic books. Meanwhile, in an alternative or perhaps future universe, a team of superheroes ponders modern society during their time off. Between black-ops missions and rescuing hostages, they swap stories of artistic malaise and muse on the seemingly inescapable grip of market economics. Gleefully toying with the conventions of the novel, Dear Cyborgs weaves together the story of a friendship's dissolution with a provocative and lively meditation on protest. Through a series of linked monologues, a surprising cast of characters explores narratives of resistance--protest art, eco-terrorists, Occupy squatters, pyromaniacal militants--and the extent to which any of these can truly withstand the pragmatic demands of contemporary capitalism. All the while, a mysterious cybernetic book of clairvoyance beckons, and trusted allies start to disappear. Playfully blending comic-book villains with cultural critiques, Eugene Lim's Dear Cyborgs is a fleet-footed literary exploration of power, friendship, and creativity that recalls authors like Tom McCarthy and Valeria Luiselli. Ambitious and knowing, it braids together hard-boiled detective pulps, subversive philosophy, and Hollywood chase scenes, unfolding like the composites and revelations of a dream."-- "A genre-bending novel told through the witty dialogues of three superheroes in their down time discussing their origin stories and moments of protest against body and state, ultimately weaving an intimate path through notions of art, money, resistance, and friendship"--… (more)

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