Reviews of today’s New Media

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Need a Bailout – Jungmin Joo

coverNeed a Bailout

By Jungmin Joo

Copyright © 2008

$5.70 Paperback

$1.25 Download

60 Pages

 

Reviewed by Dan Marvin

 

The stressful thing about a recession is this, you and I can’t do much about it.  When crying and hand wringing have run their course, there is only one other option – laughter.  Jungmin Joo’s second cartoon book on lulu is called ‘Need a Bailout’ and it reflects the world around us in wickedly clever cartoons. 

 

 

You will find all the themes of the day here, the housing bubble, the bailout, job loss, corporate greed, and the relentless pursuit of the dollar.  The cartoons rival those you’ve seen in the newspaper and it’s a given that one or two will end up tacked to the walls of your cubical.

 

Joo’s work has appeared in the Saturday Evening Post, Sun, Women’s World and other prestigious publications.  As I read through his book, I wondered what the next page would bring and found myself laughing on a number of occasions and thinking on many others.  If you enjoy his book, you can also check out his website at http://joocartoon.weebly.com/index.html and see some more samples.  I especially liked the car salesman telling his client that the car was ‘packed chock-full with anti-accidents.’ 

 

excerpt1The price of this collection can’t be beat, it’s especially cost effective as a download.  I appreciate Joo’s approach to the recession and life.  If you can’t ignore it and can’t fix it… laugh at it.

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February 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Word Lotto – NewFiction.com

worldlottothumb1

If you combine “The Office” with the George Orwell book 1984, you will start to get a feel for Word Lotto.  You’ll recognize the world there.  It’s mostly our world.  A cynical version of it perhaps, but recognizable.  It’s a world of wives and jobs and Dr. Phil and anger management classes.  The version of the world that Tom Brennan inhabits, however, is skewed by an insidious device.  The WordMeter slowly ticks away each person’s words at they use them.  You’ll discover the reason (well, one possible interpretation anyway) in chapter 8 as Tom sits with his not really friend Rob in a seedy strip joint called The Batman:

 

“Joe Six-pack couldn’t afford to buy lotto tickets to “Hit-It”! Jackpots started to shrink and people became totally depressed. Something had to be done. Americans turned to their elected officials. The government was only too eager to help. Its proposal was simple. Instead of playing Lotto with money, why not play with words? Talk is cheap and there is plenty to go around.”  When every citizen was outfitted with a WordMeter, they could all play the Word Lotto.

 

Tom is a reluctant hero.  He is just trying to get by at his job as a “Citizen Advocate” at the Word Bureau.  Much like Winston Smith in Orwell’s novel, our hero Tom is a civil servant pushing around paper for a living.  His biggest challenge it to get finished with his last game of computer solitaire by 4:45 so he can beat the traffic home.  In this case, home is his mother-in-laws house.  He and his wife haven’t quite put together the required down payment to get their own place, but they’re working on it.

 

Tom’s job and coworkers feature prominently in the story.  As Citizen Advocate, it is Tom’s responsibility to represent people who feel their WordMeters are not working correctly.  Although he has yet to win a case, he has high hopes for a new client named Mr. Johnson (aka Bubbles, for reasons you will discover).  His WordMeter registers not only his own words but those of people around him.  It should be cut and dried, but the disastrous conclusion for this case spirals quickly out of Tom’s control.  His loss in this high profile, highly publicized case sets the stage for the Word Council giving him another case they desperately want him to lose, that of a legend who advocates the end of the WordMeter system, a man named the Broadword General.  In this book, you won’t be surprised to learn that the revolution has corporate sponsorship:

 

“…And now we welcome back our Broadword General.” Bob said to the camera, “You are witnessing first hand the Word Rebellion proudly sponsored by Pepsi Cola – the official soft drink for the young rebel!”

 

Word Lotto is at once humorous and thought provoking.  It’s a little unnerving that Tom’s world is so recognizable.  While a WordMeter is fanciful and unlikely, it is not that big of a stretch that there is a reality show that follows around people nearing their last word to watch the fun as the meter ticks down to 0. 

 

The iSoap format is perfect for this book.  You’ll enjoy the stories that set the stage for the conclusion and each character gets his or her own voice.  Also a bonus is the whimsical artwork that kicks off each chapter.  I found myself trying to anticipate where the story was going from the picture.  I dare you to figure out what a flamboyant man dancing on a conference room table covered in Post-it notes has to do with Word Lotto, but he does.  After a few chapters, you’ll be hooked not only on Word Lotto, but to listening to your fiction.  I thoroughly enjoyed the quirky characters, unlikely situations, and wry social commentary and I know that you will too.  The Word Council requires it.

Dan Marvin – January 2009

February 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment