“Shovel Ready” by Adam Sternbergh

I like to imagine the doom that awaits us.

From whatever terror SkyNet might reign down to the hoards of inescapable Walking Dead, the potential reality that our species’ demise is ever approaching makes me feel warm and snuggly in present day comforts. Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh offers a similar take on our collective destruction, but reminds us that everything is about perspective.

The quick action and fast-paced writing style made this a weekend read. Sternbergh’s writing reminds me of private-eye pulp fiction; bursts of dialogue and descriptions that leave much to the imagination. Altogether, one is left with a hurried feel to the novel. Conversations consist mostly of single line volleys, and the flash-backs are interjected into the action to give back-story as needed, and not before.

The harsh reality for our hero Spademan, a trash man turned hit man, is the bleak landscape of a half-empty New York City. New technology allows the rich to escape the “nuts and bolts” for a patrician internet, devoted to virtual reality. However, the word “reality” is hardly an applicable term for what the upper-class experience.

While sometimes difficult to follow, the writing kept the action up, and even though I felt the characters were underdeveloped in some cases, this is an exploration into one hypothetical techno-dystopian future. And for that, it was a more than entertaining read.

Kenton Hansen

Technical Co-Founder Kenton makes digital things. He is a technologist and has had his part in a few startups including software, advertising, and client services. @KentonH