If you haven’t read Spark by Rupert Dreyfus yet, well why the fuck not? This self-described “guerrilla fiction for the Digital Age” is definitely a must read. Not only does the author take chances, but he tells it like it is, without fear of reprisal. And without caving to the fluffy demands of the mass market. Check out the synopsis:
“Jake Miller has just been shot by a member of the British Counterterrorism Unit. As he lies on his bedroom floor, wondering if he’s going to bleed out, he attempts to put the last few months of his life into perspective. One minute he’s starting a high-flying job in the corporate banking sector; the next minute he’s commanding a legion of disaffected computer users known as Generation Y-bother. They know Jake only by his hacking name Spark and the videos he uploads to his Youtube account, but they’re hell-bent on helping him bring about the end of the world as we know it. The problem is not everybody’s on board his battleship…”
Spark reads something like a cross between How I Made the Mistakes and The Army of the Republic, with a first person narration that is refreshingly honest and real. Jake Miller is my favorite kind of character. He’s self-deprecating and fully aware of (but not really apologetic about) being a bit of an asshole. Instead of trying to paint his hero as some perfect fantasy revolutionary, Dreyfus gives us a regular guy, a computer nerd, and shows us how now, more than ever, regular people really could effect change in the world.
I enjoyed how this story is told by the main character as he expires. The different threads of the story are well-woven and kept my interest through the end. The psychological aspects were also very interesting and gave the story depth. As Jake stops sleeping and starts morphing into Spark we see the effect on his psyche, how easy it can be to become so involved in something that we lose our grip on reality. Dreyfus also expertly illustrates how power really is corruption. Spark finds power and starts to think of himself as god- no different from the powers that be and the status quo. Still, there is hope present here. Hope for change. Hope that someday we will wake up and get off the hamster wheel and stop making the rich richer.