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Jennifer Government

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  9,441 ratings  ·  849 reviews
Taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for. It's a brave new corporate world, but you don't want to be caught without a platinum credit card--as lowly Merchandising Officer Hack Nike is about to find out. Trapped into building street cred for a new line of $2500 sneakers by shooting customers ...more
Paperback, 321 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by Vintage (first published October 17th 2002)
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Best Science Fiction With a Female Protagonist
98th out of 668 books — 1,793 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rob
Feb 25, 2009 Rob rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Can I get a Diet Stephenson, please?"
Recommended to Rob by: Amazon.com
Shelves: 2008, science-fiction
If asked to write the foreword to some 20th anniversary commemorative edition, I would say that Max Barry's Jennifer Government is like a bottle of Diet Neal Stephenson served with a twist of Christopher Moore (or perhaps a dash of Tom Robbins?) There is something uncannily similar between Snow Crash and Jennifer Government: in the comic book pacing; in the hyperbolic and impossible but chillingly familiar geo-political climate that he illustrates; in the characters that reek of auto-erotic ca ...more
Jessie
Mar 24, 2011 Jessie rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like JJ Abrams
In a word, Max Barry is overrated. He has no ear for dialogue and his characters are completely flat and forgettable. He has an annoying habit of making his female characters drop-dead gorgeous and going on at length about just how gorgeous they are. And exactly what they’re wearing. That being said, he’s got a good enough sense of pacing and enough satirical bite (though it never breaks the skin) to keep a person reading. I mean, there has to be some explanation for the fact that I read three o ...more
Eric
I gave this book 2 stars, because I thought it was a good ride, but honestly it's only good at all if you can get past the fact that all of the characters are completely one-dimensional, poorly thought out, do things that are totally unrealistic, and have little to no motivation to do anything but do things that are completely bizarre. Seriously, Hack, the main character if there is one, is like Tess of the D'Urbervilles. He practically sleepwalks his way through the book and then when he grows ...more
Mike
There is so much I want to say about this book. It is so jammed packed with interesting ideas and characters that there are a million places to start. Perhaps I’ll just get the crude and vulgar out of the way first.

The world of Jennifer Government reads like an Ayn Rand wet dream. Corporations have free reign in what is called the United States of America but actually comprises North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and the British isles (or, for you George Orwell fans out there, Ocean
...more
oOSarahOo ☼Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans☼
To be reread 2015. Because reading this book twice is not enough. And guess what? IA liked this one too^^

**********
Second review (August 2013):
Jennifer Government is one of the books I was lucky enough to come across by pure chance through BookCrossing. I first read the book in 2006, absolutely loved it and it quickly became one of my favourite reads ever. In subsequent years I read Max Barry's other books but Jennifer Government is still my favourite of his to this day.

I decided to read the b
...more
Jamie
In some ways, Max Barry's Jennifer Government is like the inverse of Orwell's 1984. It's set in the near future where things have gone loopy, but instead of an out of control, totalitarian government oppressing everyone, it's uncontrollable megacorporations and hypercapitalism (or, one could argue, hyperlibertarianism) that's ruining everyone's day. Unfortunately, Jennifer Government is unlike 1984 in that it's not particularly well written.

The hook, like I said, is that Barry has created a near
...more
Jensownzoo
You know how it seems like certain American corporations have wormed their way into practically every market overseas (McDonalds, Pepsi, Coke, etc.)? This novel takes it to the extreme as it supposes what would happen if corporations and capitalism took over the world and government was minimized into an underfunded major crime (e.g. murder) prevention body. There are no longer family surnames...you take the name of the company that you work for like Bob Nike or Cathy McDonalds. You have to give ...more
Oriana
Aw, this was kind of disappointing on the second read. I remembered it being really clever and fast-paced and fun, and it was fast-paced and a little bit clever, but also much cornier and flatter than I remembered. The characters were very one-dimensional, and the plot was fairly original but totally predictable. Honestly (and I feel like this is a terribly back-handed compliment), I think this would be a great action movie.
Ilona Andrews
Interesting book. A blistering satire on corporate culture, the book is written with a sparse, sharp style. It flies by. I read it while on the plane - I don't enjoy flying - and it took me right out of the shuddering cabin and into the world of corporations, advertisement, and violence.

In the future, corporations rule the world, at least in USA and Commonwealth. Last names are abandoned in favor of employer names: John Nike, Lisa Disney, Michelle McDonalds and so on. Jobs are everything. Hack N
...more
Raza Syed
Max Barry's would-be futuristic satire reads like a failed screenplay, replete with generic action sequences populated with dumb, spiteful characters. Its setting is thinly conceived and curiously dated, as if the hyper-capitalist day-after-tomorrow it presents exists only to excuse the author's unconvincing social speculations. He certainly doesn't seem inspired by the time-shift in any operational way. The novel's views on technology and media are so retrograde that, apart from its improbable ...more
Eh?Eh!
entertaining. female heroine who kicks a**. frightening future possiblity. your last name is determined by your corporate affiliation. everything is commercialized, even emergency services. if you can't pay you won't be aided...health 'care' is already there in America.

amoral corporate marketing executives concoct a new advertising campaign - create hype by murdering the initial buyers of their new shoe line. other executives, disconnected from real appreciation for human life, see it as "proact
...more
Jenny Maloney
If McDonalds ruled the world: it would look like this book.

Or, rather, if Nike owned the world.

The Low-Down Dirty:
Welcome to the not-so-far-away future, where everyone is identified by the company they work for. Hence, our trigger-man (in every sense of the word, sort of) is Hack Nike. Hack Nike works for John Nike and John Nike. **No, that wasn't a typo. There are two John Nikes in this book. One is prettier than the other.** John Nike has decided that the greatest marketing scheme of all time
...more
Alex
I started this book once or twice, and decided to add it to this year's book challenge. I just now finished it, and I have thoughts about it.

I liked the way Barry used his characters to drive the story. It reminded me a little bit of Big Trouble (the movie. I haven't read the book). He starts with these seemingly disparate characters and then throws them all into a roiling pot of conspiracies, assassination and kidnapping.

I've often heard as a person having a "cinematic" writing style, but I th
...more
Dianna
I have a bit of a soft spot for dystopias, apocalypses and post-apocalypses. Plagues too, I love a good plague, it's all very comforting to know there are these nice fictional places where everything's gone wrong, most people are dead, lots of people are either being chased by zombies, or forced to compete in death matches, or being psychologically tortured by some sort of powerful organisation or entity.

What sets them apart, according to the people who write and critique dystopia etc fiction, i
...more
Chris
Jennifer Government is a novel that tries to have its cake and eat it. On the one hand it is an obvious satire on corporate power and greed and the inability of states to control these wayward creatures, on the other the story highlights individuals who by either opposing or aspiring to be major players in this selfish corporatism quite frequently espouse the self-same macho values that got corporatism where it is. While castigating the whole set-up Max Barry also revels in the rogue survivalist ...more
bookczuk
I was currently reading another book, but stupidly left the iy in the car. It was rainy out, and I was in my jammies. Having no desire to get wet, I pulled Jennifer Government, by Max Barry, off the shelf.

I started reading.

About the author...interesting. Dedication- ok. Two quotes by Thomas Jefferson- nice touch. Then an author's note:

"There are a lot of real company names and trademarks in this book, most in situations you are unlikely to see on the covers of any annual reports. That's because
...more
Erin
Jennifer Government poses the most humorous "future gone wrong" I've encountered in the many of the other books of its kind that I've read. I've kind of been on a dystopian kick lately, and Barry's world of tomorrow isn't quite as grim as some other authors have dreamed up, but there've been some big changes.

First, 75% of the planet is now part of the United States, with only pockets of foreign countries still rooted in democracy and free market. The parts of the world governed by the US are und
...more
Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott
Like much speculative fiction, the premise is better than the execution, but the premise isn't even that great. This might have seemed edgy at one time, but after having explored the extreme anti-corporate culture a bit in college — you know, the "Ad Busters" phase that many of us go through — it's more tired and played out than anything else.

Any number of anti-corporate narratives are more satisfying and feature people you can actually care about: Mirror's Edge or Jet-Set Radio Future to name a
...more
Diego González
En un mundo donde Australia es parte de EE.UU., las escuelas están patrocinadas por marcas de juguetes y la gente usa como apellido la empresa para la que trabaja un pringao con una cantidad de luces no excesivamente elevada se ve envuelto en una trama en la que los asesinatos son acciones de marketing y el gobierno sólo los investiga si la familia del finado paga la investigación. Parodia del anarcocapitalismo en la misma línea que Mercaderes del Espacio (a la que se cita expresamente), Leyes d ...more
Mitch Clem
Jeez, I keep forgetting to check in after I've finished stuff. I wrapped this one up a while ago. I was enjoying it for a while, but then my birthday happened and I got a stack of other stuff that sounded more engaging than this one was proving at the time, and I think that hurt it.

I liked Barry's Lexicon so much I immediately went and picked this one up to read next. It boats many of the same features/trappings as Lexicon: The universe and its conceits mostly don't make any sense and don't hold
...more
Tasula
In a future world, corporations hold most of the power, and people identify themselves with the company they work for, to the extreme of taking the company name as their surname- e.g. John Nike. The companies ally themselves with like minded others. The government seems to exist as an entity that makes some laws and tries to prevent crimes. Jennifer Government - from her name it is clear she works for the government- has a long standing grudge against ambitious John Nike, VP of Guerilla Marketin ...more
John Yelverton
A great book with a very interesting take on the future, were it not for all the foul language in it.
John Boettcher
I read this book awhile back and couldn't really decide whether I liked it or not.

Taxation was abolished. Good.

Corporations were now basically the government. Bad.

Free markets were taken to the extreme. Good.

Corporations put hits out to kill people legally. Bad.

There were some really good concepts in the book, but then it too it off on a tangent that was both unrealistic, but some of the philosophical points that Barry tries to make in the book about extreme capitalism would have been solve
...more
Jennifer H
This book is someone's dream of capitalism gone wild. It's ridiculous - really funny at times. Although I feel a little bad because I'm not sure if it was supposed to be funny or it was some political statement. I think it's supposed to be outlandish on purpose. And while I found it humorous, I couldn't really recommend that anyone else read it. Honestly, the funniest thing was that I picked it up (while grabbing a Dave Barry book at the library) because it had my name and job as the title - why ...more
A.J.
Not particularly well written, this story makes up for that with it's attitude. Fun, exhuberant and all the while cutting a little closer to the truth than sane people might appreciate. So if highbrow is your thing - don't even start - but if your brian hurts then you could do worse than leave it at the door and read this.

So it's set in a dystopic future where corporations are king and unless you have money you can't expect justice. The police wont even start to solve crimes without being paid
...more
Andrew Wenz
Jennifer Government is an interesting novel set in the future where the corporation you work for is now your last name. The book starts with Nike releasing a new set of shoes. The main character Hack Nike is ordered by the vice president, John Nike, to kill people who try to buy the shoes in order to create interest among the item. After several people are dead Jennifer Government takes it upon herself to find the murderers. Hack contacts the police and ends up helping Jennifer retrieve her daug ...more
Kevin English
"Jennifer Government" is a quick and fun read. Expect a few laughs but don't expect to unravel anything profound here.

This book is a parody of a libertarian utopian but it reads more like an Elmore Leonard book. The villain is pure evil and one dimensional. The heros are predictably flawed but entirely likable. As a reader this leaves you no choice but to cheer on the little guy fighting against the big bad corporations. Ah, how we love this story!

Being a moderate libertarian myself, I think thi
...more
Christopher McKitterick
I really like this book, which is saying a lot because I read it expecting to be able to put it down in a hurry. A really vicious satire on modern global consumerism, sort of a SPACE MERCHANTS for the 21st century.

The story follows a handful of apparently random characters whose lives meet and part weirdly, in a world where everyone’s last name is the company they currently work for or the corporation running the school they currently attend. Jennifer Government is a Jennifer who works for the
...more
Heidi
What a fun book this was. I'm not normally a sci-fi sort of gal, but I do love a good dystopian read. Oftenly, the two go hand in hand as it did with Jennifer Government.

But.

Jennifer Government takes a different look at what life might be like in the not-so-distant future. Democracy. Marketing. Free enterprise. Consumerism. Federal regulation... we're all familiar with these terms, but we don't take the time to really think about what they mean. Believe - they are counting on our "not thinking"
...more
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Aiossa's 14/15 Se...: Shannon Fitzgerald Book Review 4 1 2 Feb 07, 2013 08:01PM  
Retitled Jennifer Government 2 86 Jan 14, 2008 11:01AM  
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“Fifteen years ago, this would have been insider trading, but that quaint concept had disappeared a decade or two ago when so many brokers were doing it that it was impossible to jail them all. Now it was called smart trading.” 5 likes
“Companies were getting a lot tougher on labor contracts these days; Hack had heard stories. At Adidas, if you quit your job and your replacement wasn't as competent, they sued you for lost profits.” 4 likes
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