Neal Barrett, Jr., Author, Jr. Barrett, Author Golden Gryphon $25.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-930846-28-9

Set in a post-apocalyptic downsized America, a high-tech land of fabulous wealth as well as dirt-poverty and primitive survivalism, this wacky, occasionally profound novel from Barrett (The Hereafter Gang ) rings oddly true in our era of Enron and Paris Hilton. East and West Coast empires are ruled by ruthless titled families with an anti-work ethic so extreme they don't even feed or clothe themselves. On achieving his majority, Asel Iacola, Prince of Christler-Coke and heir to America East, immediately loses his vast fiefdom to an alliance of the Lord of SEC, Ducky Du Pontiac-Heinz and Jackie Cee of the Disney-Dow rulers of Califoggy State. Asel is shipped off to the National Executive Rehabilitation Facility (NERF) in bleak Oklahomer. For all his ignorance and absurdity, Asel has a noble spirit and an ability to learn. Asel and Sylvan Lee McCree, former High Earl of Dixie-Datadog, escape from NERF in a stolen truck. After an encounter with the TechsMechs Rangers, the pair are enslaved by the beauteous Nones of Our Lady of Reluctant Desire (O.L.O.R.D.), rescued by rebel acolytes and attacked by Califoggian aero-machines. And that's just for starters. Asel's picaresque adventures, as told by this modern-day Mark Twain, should provoke plenty of guffaws. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/09/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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