Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Summer Savings Up to 25% Off Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Shop now Shop now Learn more

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars17
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£9.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 2 October 2003
Istanbul!
Applause, applause...
I just finished reading Matt Ruff's "Sewer, Gas and Electric" and I wish he were here before me so I could give him a one-man standing ovation.
I picked this book up in an airport bookstore, having looked at it several times before. This time, I was caught - I could not resist the ghost of Ayn Rand in a hurricane lamp or the mutant great white nicknamed "Meisterbrau". Five hours later I was breathlessly reading the last page.
So what's good about it? The writing is funny without being condescending or slapstick. The philosophy is interesting for those of us who walked in off the streets without having bought the "Atlas Shrugged" ticket. The characters are amazingly fleshed out, and even the villains have redeeming qualities and sympathetic motives.
If you like your humor broad, your books thoughtful and your day weird, this book ought to do the trick.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 May 1999
At the risk of expressing a monority opinion, I laughed out loud a lot of times reading this novel--one of the funniest things I've ever read. It's dense plot-wise, a la Condon, with characters reminiscent of his earlier stuff. But it's also torque-y a la Vonnegut. Somehow, Ruff "sees" people at their most primitive levels and describes them to a tee.
Situations arise that I'd love to have been able to think up myself. No wait a minute--I ~did~ while I was in college. *That's* why I liked this so much! Ah--understanding from writing reviews. I knew they were useful for something.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 March 1999
(Spoilers, beware!) Matt Ruff spins an almost Dickensonian texture in his futuristic views of New York, in his eccentric people, his monstrous superskyscrapers, his evil computer genius and henchmen. In fact, the book*s richness is its downfall, ideas are raised only to be lost in the byzantine plots. Two major plot lines twist around each other without quite connecting--Philo Dufresne, one of the last black men on earth, commands a pink-and-green sub, setting out to rescue the last ring-tailed lemurs on earth; and Harry Gant, who builds the mile-high buildings as well as Electric Negro servants, becomes the focus of a Disney computer*s hostile plans. The focus is ever shifting, somewhat disorienting. Odd details resonate like the elavator shafts of the monstrous buildings; plot points, such as a 181-year old woman, or a mutating shark who lives in Manhattan*s sewers, are left conviently unexplained. In truth I found the double plot confusing, even needless, despite the intriguing nature of the subs crew and mission, its non-violent terrorism. One major focus is the fact that the Black race has been wiped out by an unknown plague, but not an accidental one. This loss, of an entire people, is never fully plumbed, is offset by the creation of the Electric Negro, an android who is the perfect subservient, but proves to be far more insidious. Only the computer program the Eye of Africa gives any real sense of such a loss. The plot lines themselves wander, shift, jump, remininsce; more than once I had to backtrack to keep things straight. Worse, this book has the failing of an ambiguous ending of too many of its people. It is basically a *happy* ending, but is it wrong to ask what happened to the protagonists? In truth, the ideas could have and should have been broken up into two or even three novels; as it is, I get a glimpse of Grand amidst the Good.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 February 2016
Matt Ruff has written six novels in a literary career spanning nearly three decades; virtually are rooted in fantasy or science and should be regarded as fine examples of speculative fiction. "Sewer, Gas Electric: The Public Works Trilogy" is a dazzling, hilarious cyberpunk adventure set in the New York City of 2023. Ruff conjurs up a bizarre, almost dystopian, view of a near-future New York City laced with the political wisdom of Ayn Rand, who returns, resurrected as a major protagonist in this novel. Multi-billionaire Harry Gant strives to build the tallest building in the world while his ex-wife, Joan Fine, is joined by Ayn Rand, as they wage war against homicidal robots and a sinister conspiracy involving Walt Disney and J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's legendary first director, within the sewers of Manhattan. Ruff's novel is just as hilarious as Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash", but quite a bit longer. And not only are there apt comparisons to Stephenson's work here, but I can see some influence from the likes of Thomas Pynchon, Bruce Sterling and William Gibson too. Fans of "Snow Crash" and other cyberpunk fiction will not wish to miss this book. Without question, "Sewer, Gas, Electric: The Public Works Trilogy" is Ruff's splendid sophomore outing, and demonstrates to me why he may be the finest writer ever to have graduated from New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 November 2007
And it's twice as much fun. Really, every single character in this novel is lovable, well fleshed out, and fits with the rest of the team as a fractal 3-d puzzle. Neal Stephenson recommended it, and I followed, and I couldn't be happier about it.
And there's a plot, too. Ecoguerrillas attack capitalist guerrilla, and battle it out in the high seas, helped out by none other than HMS City of Women. Mutant Carcharodons eat bewildered boy scouts. And there's a conspiracy hidden in Disneyland.
Really, you should read this. Now.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 October 2003
Istanbul!
Applause, applause...
I just finished reading Matt Ruff's "Sewer, Gas and Electric" and I wish he were here before me so I could give him a one-man standing ovation.
I picked this book up in an airport bookstore, having looked at it several times before. This time, I was caught - I could not resist the ghost of Ayn Rand in a hurricane lamp or the mutant great white nicknamed "Meisterbrau". Five hours later I was breathlessly reading the last page.
So what's good about it? The writing is funny without being condescending or slapstick. The philosophy is interesting for those of us who walked in off the streets without having bought the "Atlas Shrugged" ticket. The characters are amazingly fleshed out, and even the villains have redeeming qualities and sympathetic motives.
I loved Kite (the immortal amputee), the secret history of Disneyland and the vain attempts to kill Meisterbrau, when every knows that the best way to kill a mutant shark is to introduce it to the workings of Ayn Rand.
If you like your humor broad, your books thoughtful and your day weird, this book ought to do the trick.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 June 1999
Matt Ruff was obviously shaken from his eco-socialistic foundations upon reading Atlas Shrugged and decided (as so many people do) to defend his views against Ayn Rand's. He failed to do this effectively, succeeding only in pointing out the little inconsistencies and imperfections in the woman and her views. A better thinker would have met her with different arguments and I thought this was such a waste because the idea of the Rand Genie was brilliant. This is why I give the book three stars. Having said that, I must say that Ruff is an awesome writer. He has tremendous skill with words and an uncanny talent for plot imagination, especially from a comedic standpoint. [SPOILERS:] The guy's response to Meisterbrau's fin in the swimming pool and the scene where the world falls back onto Atlas' shoulders had me rolling on the floor with laughter. Worth a read just for the humor, but don't expect deep philosophical thought just because Ayn Rand's name appears on the back cover.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 February 1999
Although derivative of Stephenson and others who use the future to wildly satirize the present, Matt Ruff's "Gas, Sewer, Electic" is a lot of fun and a good, addictive read. The book manages to suck you into a world where random occurances that become a highly contrived (here it is not used derogatorily) plotline where shark-sightings, Earthquakes, the soul of Africa put on a computer and a green and pink polka-dotted submarine called "The Yabba-Dabba-Doo" not only are accepted, but actually make a modicum of sense. Yes, these things are funny. Yes, they're insane. But you'll laugh at them as you buy into them and find yourself enjoying the book.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 December 1998
This book took me awhile to finish because whenever I looked at it lying on my bedstand I'd think, "Do I care enough about this book to finish it?" After turning to other things, I'd end up picking it up again eventually, and when I was actually reading it, I enjoyed it well enough. It's clever and at times amusing. However, I didn't find the plot or the characters particularly compelling. I was confused by one of the other online reviewer's comments that this book was for Crowley and Helprin fans. I love both of those authors, and saw none of what I love about them in Ruff's book.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 November 1998
I totally enjoyed this homage to the wily genre of eco-thrilling, econo-dystopic futuristic sf. This book not only invoked Neal Stephenson's _Zodiac_ and _Snowcrash_, but also Terry Pratchett's entire _Discworld_ series. In addition to the loopy - and well-researched - plot, Ruff provides us with prose that dances dextrously across the page. He delights in writing well, which is almost as important as writing Big Original Thoughts.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.