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Jennifer Government

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  11,149 Ratings  ·  999 Reviews
In Max Barry's twisted, hilarious and terrifying vision of the near future, the world is run by giant corporations and employees take the last names of the companies they work for. It's a globalised, ultra-capitalist free market paradise!

Hack Nike is a lowly merchandising officer who's not very good at negotiating his salary. So when John Nike and John Nike, executives fro
ebook, 0 pages
Published January 6th 2004 by Vintage (first published October 17th 2002)
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✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

ِJennifer Government maths:

This is one of my favourite books EVER and I don't give a damn if:

Some people say it's overhyped and overrated.

Some people say it's predictable.

Some people say it's pure, badly written crap.

Some people say all the characters in the story are stupid, flat and unlikeable.

And I certainly don't give a damn about the book snobs who compare this book to the supposed greatness of novels written by Huxley, Orwell, Stephenson and the like. The reverse book snob in me happ
Feb 25, 2009 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Can I get a Diet Stephenson, please?"
Recommended to Rob by:
Shelves: science-fiction, 2008
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
Mar 24, 2011 Jessie rated it did not like it  ·  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
Aug 11, 2008 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
This was really fucking good. Not quite five star read, but I'm giving it 5 anyway. Because.

Review might come. If I ever do the other 5000 I've been promising.
Aug 01, 2008 Jamie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2010 Oriana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
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
Raza Syed
Nov 26, 2008 Raza Syed rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 take the name of the company that you work for like Bob Nike or Cathy McDonalds. You have to give ...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
Nov 24, 2008 Eh?Eh! rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: babble-added
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 '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
Sep 14, 2012 Dianna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 28, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-novel
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
I’ll have to be honest with you, I really am not sure if this novel was set in some kind of futuristic, dystopian society, or if it was set in an alternate reality of our current society. At first I thought it might be futuristic, but in one scene two people are fighting “Black Friday” style for a VCR on sale. Now this book was written in 2002 and so VCR would have still been a viable medium at that point, so this has me leaning towards alternate reality.

Not that it matters in the slightest whe
Jan 25, 2009 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 28, 2009 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2013 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
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
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
Apr 01, 2016 Thom rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This story takes place in an alternate universe where corporations are way stronger than the government, which is essentially its own company. The characters lack a family name, using their employer instead. How various individuals named John Nike or Mike McDonalds aren't often confused is not explained.

Max Barry has created an interesting world, as least in the places he explored. The rest feels like a thin facade with no internal logic. The nonexistent character growth is barely overshadowed b
Aug 06, 2009 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
John Yelverton
Mar 25, 2015 John Yelverton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book with a very interesting take on the future, were it not for all the foul language in it.
May 28, 2009 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: culture, fiction, satire
Look around your house. Sneakers, computers, movies, household items. How many of those things are made by massive, multinational corporations? Probably all of them. And how many of these companies are from America? Lots, I'll bet.

In her book No Logo, Naomi Klein takes a trip through the history of branding - the association of a particular company with a particular product. Given that most products with similar function - sneakers, for example - are fairly similar in their makeup and function,
A kind of comedy (but not funny) vision of the future where consumerism, marketing, branding and international corporations, along with the government absolving itself of any responsibility for anything comes to its ultimate fruition. Some of the things that go on may seem laughable, but also a little chilling. Recently it feels as though these seeds are being sown now. I'm not saying we're heading off to this world, only that this has a depressingly realistic background.

The USA has pretty much
Callie Rose Tyler
This book started out strong. I was intrigued, interested, excited. Then it very quickly turned to crap. First and these characters sucked.

Jennifer Government has a kid and an unexplained face tattoo...

and that pretty much sums it up, no real character development.

Buy Mitsui A French stockbroker is a 'good guy'. Why? Because Max Barry realized that someone had to be. Buy is definitely one of the more pathetic characters and that's really saying something. Since the reader knows
Jul 16, 2010 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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.


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"
John Defrog
I liked Max Barry’s Lexicon, so I picked up this earlier novel, which takes an old speculative-fiction trope – in future, corporations will rule the world – and dials it up to 11. Barry’s “what-if” scenario is a globalized free-market libertarian wet dream where pretty much everything is privatized (including the police), countries are owned by corporations, no one pays tax, the NRA is a private paramilitary outfit for hire and the government is essentially an underfunded NGO whose job is to dea ...more
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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.” 7 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.” 6 likes
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