Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

They Is Us They Is Us
by Tama Janowitz
The Friday Project (a division of Harper Collins)

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

They is Us is the tenth book by author Tama Janowitz, but the first work I have read by her. The book bills itself as a cautionary horror story (right there on the front cover immediately under the title), but to me it was a satirical dystopia in the vein of Philip K. Dick or Thomas M. Disch in one of his lighter moods (think of an uplifting 334).

They is Us is set in New Jersey in the late 21st century and has taken current trends in pollution, consumerism, biological research, marketing and American politics (and much more) to logical if absurd extrapolations. The action centres on one family and friends, and their hopes, dreams and living reality. The author has done a wonderful job of creating believable characters living bizarre lives as a vehicle for her satire. The novel works as a story and as satire. Ignoring the satire They is Us read well as a straight "predictive" science fiction novel. I liked this book as it worked at a variety of levels.

If there were any failings in this book they were down to my ignorance of current issues and trends in America; which means the satire aspects of They is Us may not last over the long-term, but at least the novel will still be readable in years to come.

If you enjoy satire or tongue in cheek dystopic visions, then grab this book and sit down to a satisfying read. I, on the other hand, may need to hunt up more of Ms Janowitz.

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