“IQ84” by Mike Dickenson

Okay, this is a story about a hero called David Dingle, and it’s about people’s heads exploding. Do you get the picture already? Non-stop action, non-stop mania.

The story involves a huge cast of wild and weird characters appearing and disappearing (at least their heads do) rapidly. Doctors and nutcases, a Satanist emissary of evil (who is Jewish), an FBI agent whose name is Boring (yes, literally) oh, yes, the twins, Delilah and Delilah, and even a President of the United States who is the culmination of the failings of every President for the last fifty years.

The problem is a virus that attacks anyone whose IQ is below the eponymous number of the novel (I’ve always wanted to use that word) As the story progresses, it mutates to lower and lower IQs. Which is a good thing, because it leaves everyone on Capitol Hill safe. But the big problem is to keep the population dumb enough to survive. A clever bit of irony, if you don’t mind my saying.

It is a story of misunderstandings, the Klan, Freemasons and the reason Muslims don’t read the Bible is because everybody sells them Korans. But we know for sure they’re mad at us ever since the white people landed on Plymouth Chrysler Rock and stole their turkey recipes. And it goes on like this for page after page.

It’s a little difficult to explain more fully, because the book is mostly about large numbers of different people each doing something single-mindedly and wrong. This is fascinating, and the density of idiocies-per-page is impressive.

What is missing in most of the story is a sense of emotional structure. The inanity rolls on and on without missing a beat, like watching a whole season of situation comedy condensed into three hours, with no climaxes and little emotional involvement. Sort of like it’s aimed at the crowd with an eponymous IQ.

And then, at the end, it all takes off. The final scene in the Oval office would challenge the finest French farce, with about 35 major and minor characters showing up on cue, perfectly motivated and finely timed. And then the piece de resistance, the Big Reveal of who is the Dark Being that has been driving America to destruction. Which, of course, I may not reveal. You’ll just have to read it and find out.

Recommended for fans of up-to-date political satire and situation comedy.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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