10 Things About Xenoman

Every once in a while I find a book that is just gloriously, unapologetically and intensely weird.  It’s the kind of book that yanks you out of your dull day to day world, slaps you around and dumps you by the side of the road with your pants on backward and cab fare stuffed into your back pocket.  Xenoman is one of those books.   This book is basically what would happen if the Church of the Subgenius wrote the Fear and Loathing version of Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy.

The story takes place in a commercial dystopia populated by fame-crazed, drug-addled pop stars, love-sick video game avatars, orgy couches, a terrifying fast food franchise named Klownburger and a designer drug with the minor side effect of causing its users to burst into flame.
I don’t know why this book was so entertaining to read but it just… was.  A lot of times I found myself pouring though the story thinking to myself, "I have no fucking idea what is happening and I don't care!  This is awesome!"  How exactly does the author, Adam Martin, pull this off?  Well, I'm going to mostly use quotes from the book to answer that because I think they speak for themselves.

1. The Author Takes the Inane and the Bizarre and Slams Them Together Like a Baby With A Saucepan:

She  caught  a glimpse  of  a  couple  on  the  showroom  floor,  testing  out  the  latest  orgy sofa.  The  salesman  tapped  the  sofa  control  panel  and  appendages  extended from  the  plush  surface  in  all  shapes  and  sizes,  accompanied  by  orifices that  expanded  and  contracted. The  woman  unbuttoned  her  blouse  while  her  consort  unzipped  his pants.  Circular  blinds  enclosed  the  trio  for  more  privacy,  while  other shoppers  continued  feeling  out  the  furniture,  testing  the  poofiness  factor, sternly  talking  over  the  price  tags  with  the  sales  team,  making  rectangle shapes  with  their  fingers  as  if  framing  where  it  would  sit  in  their  own living  room.

2. It Provides a Glimpse Into The Modern World By Viewing the Extremes:

"Insto-Plas.  The  old  formula  caused  infections  if  it  got  under  the eyelids,  but  I  couldn't  stop  rubbing  it  into  my  face.” Velva  opened  a container  of  beauty  cream  and  rubbed  it  into  her  cheeks  and  jowls.  “It  did something  to  my  brain.  My  self  image  became  vivid.  Vibrant.  Like  a  video game.  The  skin  softened  and  I  could  mold  my  face  exactly  the  way  I wanted  it.  The  pouty  lips!"

3. There Is Anarchically Snarky Glee:

The  slide  showed  a  close  up  of  the  chimp's  face,  glaring  into  the camera  with  a  peeled  banana  sticking  out  of  its  mouth.
“What  happened  to  the  chimp?”  Xeno  asked.
“We  let  him  play  with  the  knobs  on  the  black  box.  Within  minutes. he  just  froze  from  the  effects  of  a  synthetic  sensory  seizure.”
“He  was  a  good  chimp.  He  went  out  with  a  banana.”

4. There Are Ideas In This Book That Will Haunt Your Dreams:

“What's  with  the  Lick  Me  flyers?”
“They're  treated  with  bio-mind-cream.  You  lick  the  flier  and  Holly feels  it  on  her  skin  through  an  implant  in  her  brain.  And  if  Holly  licks the  flier,  you  feel  it  on  your  skin  .  .  .  if  you  have  the  implant.”
Me: *Shutters*
To be clear, that is a flyer that, if you lick it, another human on the other end feels it.  If that isn't Twitter gone totally off the cliff, I don't know where the cliff is.

5. Did I Mention Snarky As Fuck?:

“Andrea,”  Xeno  pushed  her  back  a  ways  to  get  some  space  between them,  “you  have  chocolate  all  over  your  face.”
“Oh.  Really?”  Andrea  wiped  a  streak  of  chocolate  from  her  upper  lip, staining  the  sleeve  of  her  wedding  gown.  “After  I  stole  this  wedding  dress, I  stole  a  box  of  chocolate,  and  ate  the  whole  thing.”

6. Some Books Break The 4th Wall. Others Bulldoze It:

“This  extraterrestrial  novelty  item  has  an  anonymous  author,  with  a subjective   point   of  view,  somehow  programmed  into  the  molecular structure  of  the  book.  Again,  no  moving  parts.  We  think  the  book  came from  their  version  of  the  Humor  Section,  in  their  version  of  a  book store.”

7. Too On-The-Nose?  What is that?

“The  pineal  gland  behaves  much  like  an  old  vinyl  record  if  you  play it  backwards.”
“Is  that  what  that  strange  voice  is?  A  satanic  message?”
“There's  no  way  to  tell  without  the  Satan-o-scope,  yet  we  can  explore more  occult  terrain.”

8. There is Sophomoric Humor And Then There Is This…

“That's  the  Atomized  Synthiopathic  Synapse.”  Garry  stood  shoulder to  shoulder  with  Xeno  on  the  shore  of  artificial  grass,  admiring  the monstrous  technology  with  a  look  of  pride.  “Also  known  as  our  ASS.  The summit  of  mankind's  artificial  intelligence.”
Warning.  A whole book load of ASS references ahead.  And, as much as they should have gotten old, they didn't.  It still made me giggle.

9. And Why Does All This Work...:

I... I don't know.  It just did.  Maybe I was in a weird mood.  Maybe my brain was just craving something intensely bizarre. Perhaps the combination of capitalist dystopia and snarky fun hit me right in the happy spot.  The biggest thing to take away is that sometimes I love a book because it tells a gripping story that comes together well and characters I love take me on a journey.  And sometimes I love a book just duct tapes me to a rocket and says ‘good luck!’ as it lights the fuse.

10. Words of ... let's call it Wisdom:

“Is  Blouse  really  gone  forever?”
“Hard   to   say,   Xeno.”   Garry   remained   upbeat.   “In   the   Nth Dimension,  it's  all  just  one  big  power  chord.”


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