Book Review: 'Notes from the Internet Apocalypse'

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wayne Gladstone. Thomas Dunne, 216 pp. $23.99

While the question, "What would we do without the Internet" has certainly been asked in the last several years, not until now have I actually read a story that takes this concept and runs with it.

"Notes from the Internet Apocalypse," by Wayne Gladstone, begins right at Day 1 of the Internet shutting down. Gladstone, the main character, documents the first few months of the technologically-recessed time, through a journal he began writing in to pass the time.

In the first few days of this post-Internet world, people continue to lead their online lives, without the help of a screen and a digital connection. Digg and Reddit groups form and discuss topics on street corners. YouTube circles mercilessly torture cats by making them repeat tricks over and over again; they have no "replay" button. Twatters -- Twitter addicts with no social network site to use -- randomly call out their every thought and action in short, 140-character lines.

Everyone blames someone for the "Internet Apocalypse," whether it's the government or Corporate America. But in the mindless chatter, rumors begin to spread that someone out there still has the Internet. And so Gladstone, along with his formerly-online friend Tobey and Oz, a girl they meet in Central Park, seek to find this person and this lone connection to their familiar life.

What really struck me about this book was the details. With the clever notes and images of people continuing their online lives offline, I feel this book could have turned into a less-dramatic version of NBC's television show "Revolution." Instead, it's a unique insight into our recent dependence on the Internet. I highly doubt people would react so drastically if such an event would occur in real life, but it certainly offers an interesting picture and a unique perspective to an often over-debated discussion.

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