Monday, February 05, 2007

REVIEW: Fake Girls by Matthew Sloan

PLOT

Molloy might pass as a real private investigator if he had a bit more class. But as things stand he's a scavenger. People who are desperate somehow find him. For a fee, he helps.

Nada Klone is the internet's hottest adult personality. And she's missing. Two powerful opposing factions have each commanded Molloy to find her, or else. Now Molloy is trapped in a nightmare, caught between these mysterious forces and his own equally murky passions in his quest for a woman who is as elusive as the internet itself.

MY TAKE

Fake Girls does many things well. It is wonderfully written: the sleaze that permeates Molloy's life oozes off the page, and Molloy is a likable narrator whose sardonic sense of humor enlivens the story without undercutting the situation's menace. The mystery, although more philosophic than literal, is compelling. And, unusually for so metaphysical a story, the ending is terrific, with a satisfying conclusion that neatly both encompasses and builds upon all that has gone before.

Fake Girls has many interesting points to make about the nature of reality and personality in the digital age. However, the most intriguing -- and touching -- part of the novel is its exploration of who and why we love (kind of like a grindhouse version of Enola's Wedding). Molloy has a genuinely tender relationship with a transsexual prostitute, and then a more lustful affair with a woman he meets during his investigation. A husband loves the wife who cheats on him constantly. A man searches for his online lover, with no prejudice about who that may turn out to be. In all of these instances, Fake Girls quietly but firmly imparts its message: love is where we find it, and we simply have to adapt.

AVAILABILITY

Fake Girls is presented by the Afterhuman Press and published through Lulu. Until recently, it was available for purchase as a paperback or a pdf ebook directly from Lulu; however, the Lulu link appears not to be working at the moment. Hopefully it will revive shortly; until then, the novel is available as a Lulu-printed paperback on Amazon ($15.96). Matthew Sloan appears not to have his own website.

BONUS RECOMMENDATION

Spray is a great synth duo who produce outrageously fun pop music. Not only do their songs consistently impel me to dance (and I am rather hard to get in motion), but, surprisingly for the genre, the lyrics are witty and just as worthwhile as the music. Spray has just released a splendid new album, Children of a Laser God. Among the highlights are several songs about the illusory and mysterious nature of relationships, including "He Came With The Frame," about the merits of treating the guy pictured in a new photo frame's marketing insert as your significant other; and "Pretend Girlfriend," about the advantages of paying someone to pretend to be your partner in front of your friends.

Children of a Laser God is available for download on eMusic, as is Spray's equally outstanding first album, Living in Neon. (If you can tolerate buying music encumbered with DRM, both albums are also available on iTunes). Living in Neon is also presently available as a physical CD from CDBaby; hopefully Children of a Laser God will soon be as well.

2 comments:

Chris Gerrib said...

Lulu just did a dumb thing, and forced all its authors to reprice their books. Now, rather then having a "direct from the publisher" (lower) price and a price at retail, we have to go with the higher price.

What's worse is that they just bumped every book to be "not available" until the author goes in and approves the change. That might be why the book is "unavailable."

Devon Kappa said...

Thanks for the info. I'm hardly a Lulu expert, and they've generally seemed pretty good to me so far from my "outsider" (consumer) perspective, but this does sound pretty silly to me.