I came away from Jennifer Government
...unenthused. The 'shock bits' - corporations running our lives? Running the world? Franchised sovereignty? All those have been done before. Snow Crash
is but one recent example of the franchise conglomerate extrapolation
comes to mind. Max Headroom
. Corporate entities 'discovering' military combat? Old news. The British East India Company
did it, albeit not against competitors. The Robber Baron
s got up to a whole bunch of mischief out there in the not-so-lawful areas, mostly with guns, lots of times with private armies.
As TanisNikana has mentioned, the writing style is staccato and jarring - you switch viewpoints so fast your brain gets left behind, and names like Hack Nike and Buy Mitsui and Claire Sears all read as incredibly similar. When they're sharing the scene, it becomes impossible to tell who's doing what to who without a program. Barry seems to really enjoy half-page scenes on each character at a time, and I just couldn't keep up the pace. The whole 'corporate branding' of characters just got old extremely fast.
Finally, the plot is fairly simple - read pedestrian. I think it would have to be; he's juggling so many 'main' characters so fast and frantically that it would be self-destructive to make it more fleshed-out and complex. As it was, though, I just couldn't be drawn into anyone's motivations or character. I felt like I could have a 3x5 card for each character with five bullet points about them on it, and I could easily dispense with 90% of the character actions in the book.
In any case, it was, indeed, an 'interesting' book. Just not one that will hold a prized place on my shelf. Still, a beautiful woman with that tattoo under her eye...that'd catch my attention in a bar. right damn quick.