Tracing lines of flight Deleuze himself would be proud of, D. Harlan Wilson transports us to a future world that is openly recognised as science fictional, like in Blade Runner, but on steroids.
Dr. Identity is a wacky satire of everything about the current socio-economic climate that could be satirised. Elements from today are twisted into sick parodies of themselves, and the result is one seriously fucked-up, and yet, perhaps sadly, recognisable world. Advertisements, materialism, the press, consumerism, government, economy, academia, fetishised violence, celebrity, all are caricatured and ridiculed in this fantastic world.
Papanazi press and pig cops, governments that hang themselves, speculative weapons that can be kept in black hole-esque pockets, to a computer generated world known as the schizoverse (where your Id can go and gratify itself by indulging in ultraviolent tendencies or sexual promiscuity (maybe both at the same time)) are all the norm in Bliptown, a seething metropolis of advertisements and jetpacking commuters, surrounded by rainforest full of imaginary creatures, creatures that none-the-less, would rip you to shreds in minutes.
Wilson leads us on an ultraviolent tour-de-force the likes of of which we haven’t seen since Mickey and Mallory Knox graced our screens. The over-the-top violence and gore are beautifully rendered, and really don’t seem out of place in the crazy world Wilson creates. Featuring speculative weapons that turn assailants (and innocent by-standers!) into cubes of meat or reduce them to cosmic soup, as well as a ridiculously nasty nazi newspaper editor that would make Ralph Fiennes feel like a little lost school girl in his labour camp, and lecturers that dish out capital punishment to student-things for being stupid, late or just rude, Wilson’s future dystopia is never short of murder, so much that its almost a piece of performance art. A graceful ballet of blood and guts pirouetting off of the page and splashing your sense organs senseless.
The culprits of the murder spree are a schizophrenic plaquedemic named Dr. Blah Blah Blah, and his ‘ganger, an android named Dr. Identity, which happens to know scikungfu and be a complete psychopath. Anti-heroic to the extreme, and yet more likeable than 99% of the other characters populating the book, Dr. Identity represents what happens when somebody like Dr. Blah Blah Blah, an under-appreciated, under-achieving, self-loathing man gets an opportunity to fulfil the desire to perfect themselves. There’s a reason capitalism blocks the flow of libido, channels it. Dr. Identity is the embodiment of that reason.
The single criticism I have for the book, is that the end felt like it came a little too soon, but maybe that was just the sadist in me being disappointed that all good things must come to an end. It certainly made sense, the resolution couldn’t really have come any other way, but it still felt like Wilson just stopped writing, and thought, let’s go and have a nice cup of tea after that amphetamine fuelled spasm.
If Deleuze and Guattari wrote novels, they’d still pale in comparison to D. Harlan Wilson.
I will definitely be reading the rest of the scikungfi trilogy, and so should you.
Book 3, The Kyoto Man comes out Decemeber 2012, so you’ve got time to get the first two down your gullet.
amazon.co.uk page for Dr. Identity