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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh Brave New(ish) World, 26 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Blind Faith (Paperback)
When God gave out "subtlety" Ben was at the end of the queue. However, he didn't have to wait long at the "cynicism" line, and he uses both to maximum effect in "Blind Faith". Elton sets this book in the future so that he can take a swipe, or a sledgehammer, at the way our current society is going. He invents a world that takes Orwell's 1984, crosses it with Big Brother (TV version), Jerry Springer, the Evangelical Right, the X Factor, our fast food culture, the self-help industry....you name a small annoyance in our current shallow and vacuous Western World and Elton pours bile and scorn over the lot if it. And entertaining it is too, but it's a bit of a Curate's Egg. It's not difficult to believe that in the near future the Virgin Mary will be replaced by Lady Diana in the religious canon, nor that parents will name their kids something like Caitlain Happymeal, but the relentless succession of such constructs begins to irritate after a while. So does his portrayal of the rebellion against this society. Guess what? Intelligent people like real books, revere science above religion, hate mindless television and prefer solitary reflection to the crush of crowd.
If you're thinking of reading this, then you probably know what to expect from the author. Ben Elton, it seems to me, would like to write a modern day "Crime and Punishment" or "Brave New World" but just wouldn't be able to resist slipping in a few fart and knob gags. He also lays on his message with a trowel, and it's a trowel the size of a football pitch. If you can forgive him this, then you'll enjoy "Blind Faith".
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Feb 2013 01:23:15 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Feb 2013 08:04:49 GMT
Actually, I've been reading 'This Other Eden' (nearly finished reading it) - and I had your review of 'Blind Faith' in the back of my mind as I've been reading it - the style of 'Blind Faith' does seem to be a bit like 'Chart Throb' - but in 'This Other Eden' I really don't think Mr Elton was 'laying it on with a trowel' - and I've come to wonder why he did take to doing that (as I remember reading 'Blast from the Past' absolutely ages ago and thinking 'This is not just a comedian finding another branch for some sort of money-spinning ceremony - this is a seriously good writer') - and I'm now worrying that since 'This Other Eden' was obviously predictive in some way - written as far back as 1993 how did Mr Elton know - or did he just guess because of the whole consumption mechanism - that the whole way of the world was bound to hit an economic and ecological black spot? If he's beginning to really worry that what he is writing is so relevant that it may well soon come true, no wonder he needs to jaunty up his style and try and lighten stuff up by trying to lay it on a bit so it looks more convincing that it may be a joke and not an impending reality - and I suppose if he wrote 'This Other Eden' in 1993 and no particular heed has been taken of the warning to guarantee that it would have just been a joke it could be that he was feeling a bit exhausted having to follow it up with 'Blind Faith'?

UPDATE (following morning): I am seriously worried I may have said the wrong thing now, on waking up to the news that in the future we may have our personal 'avator' online to direct our health-related questions to a computing body rather than ask the National Health Service for guidance/medication/intervention - and on hearing that David Cameron (having just made the effort to visit India and try to assess the situation) - has come back saying that the UK Overseas budget may now be spent not on Aid-related projects but on Defense-related projects. It is true that 'Claustrospheres' are not yet in existence - and after I wrote my review that mentioned an Indian drug-related company there were numerous references that very day to the cricket match in Mumbai - a women's cricket match - between Australia and the UK. I suppose I'm considering letting myself off the hook with the rationale that no-one objected to 'Shades of Grey' being published - the 'publishers' obviously encouraged it - but I am still really worried that everybody (including myself) need to be really careful about what we say/imagine...?

UPDATE: (about 15minutes later) Well, now I remember I have to mention something that may seem a bit odd - a plumber came round to mend my tap the other day and I watched as he did something that was clearly impossible according to all pre-conceived rules - fitting one end of a pipe thing into another when it was clearly too big to have been fitted in there (similar phenomenon have happened to me before - in the Charity Shop one day a man mended a zip that was clearly broken - I challenged him on it and tried several times to mend the zip myself and clearly couldn't - but he demonstrated yet again that he could, much to my astonishment). Anyway, this 'plumber' who clearly had something supernatural/ beyond my understanding about him - confided in me as he was mending the tap that he was actually more worried about the 'water' than anything else - more worried about that than even the electricity or the gas...

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Mar 2013 00:03:47 GMT
Flora Cake says:
So you have been smoking some good sh*t Sarahjane?!
This Other Eden is Elton's best imo, but I do like Blind Faith a lot. Elton has never been a subtle writer, but yes, BF is certainly the least subtle I have read. But I still like it. Partly because it is actually a really alien world to me - I am hardly a Luddite, but I have never even sent a text, eschew 'social networking' and resist all forms of gossip and voyeurism - OK, maybe a bit of old fashioned gossip IS allowed! And it did take me a while to work out why so many of the babies were dying.
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