In Terry Bisson's world of the future, an artistic rebellion has led to the systematic and regulated destruction of all forms of art to make room for new creations. Hank Shapiro is a pickup artist; he collects the paintings, books, videos, cds and albums that have been outlawed and turns them in to the Bureau of Arts and Information. On a regular day that becomes the turning point in his career, Hank becomes curious about a record album that he's confiscated. He hooks up with a rebellious high school librarian to find a record player and ends up running for his life. Intertwined with Hank's tale of deception is the third-person narrative of the historic events leading to the policy known officially as "the Deletion Option."
Bisson has created a satirical novel giving everything from government bureaucracy to the entertainment industry a good comeupance. He pokes fun at society's attitude toward celebrity and name recognition and illustrates a future where even the care of our pets is at the whim of impersonal automation. Comparisons to Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 are inevitable, but Bisson has created a uniquely 21st century tale of societal morality.
Reviewed by ld, 6/01. Other reviews by ld.