The Internet. Where would we be without it? What would you do with those photos of every single meal you have ever eaten and who would see those duck faced selfies?
We as a generation rely heavily on the Internet. We go to restaurants and bars and before giving a drink order we ask, “What’s the Wi-Fi password?”
Some students may recall a time where there was no Internet. Back when hashtags were called “the pound button,” before social networking and instant messaging, before YouTube and RedTube. Back when people had to rely on going out and meeting people to end up in a relationship, today you just have to like someone’s picture on Instagram.
What would your life be without the Internet? Cracked.com writer Wayne Gladstone’s new novel imagines a world where the Internet is dead and the struggles people face.
Book one of a trilogy, “Notes from the Internet Apocalypse” is an imagined tale of what life would be like without the Internet and how desperate people would be to find it.
Gladstone is best known for his comedy Internet series called “Hate by Numbers,” where he discusses recent topics that irritate him like certain films, television programs, politics and music videos. Gladstone’s videos, which are on YouTube, have gotten over 900,000 hits like his most popular episode titled “Black Eyed Peas Write the Worst Songs Ever” and “Twilight Sucks.” Gladstone joined Cracked in 2007 and had his own column called “Throwing Stones,” which satirized pop culture and celebrities. He was first published in 2008, being featured in “The McSweeney’s Joke Book of Book Jokes.”
The wake of the apocalypse
The Internet is down. The IT guy can tell you to “turn it on and off again” and it still will not work. What is that world like? YouTube stars are hurdled in a circle giving commentary about mindless garbage nobody cares about. People are walking around and giving out news to anyone who would listen. Cats are being forced to do tricks for lonely cat lovers like circus slaves. The trolls of Reddit and 4chan are forced to give out their sassy uneducated remarks in person.
But some people do not mind the Internet being down. They see it as a good way to catch up on living the life that once was. New Yorker Wayne Gladstone is one of those people. He does not mind living without the Internet until one of his blogger friends, Tobey, brings some life changing news. The Internet is alive somewhere in New York.
The two set out to locate where this Internet could possibly be and who and why would anyone turn off the Internet in the first place. Tobey and Gladstone go on their journey with pockets full of marijuana and a flask full of whiskey. Not much can be accomplished when you are inebriated and not much does. They research parks, bars and coffee shops but the Internet is nowhere to be found.
As Gladstone and Tobey continue on their journey to find the Internet, they run into a young woman dressed in torn fishnets, boots and a miniskirt. She looked like one of the punk rock posers of Hot Topic. She was from Australia but moved to New York. On the Internet many men knew her simply as Ozzygrrl69. She had a webcam show where men would shower her in money as they watched her shower herself in water. Oz, as she is later known in the book, says she moved to New York because one of the men who watch her on the webcam lives there but she has no way to contact him without the Internet. After befriending Tobey and Gladstone, Oz joins the pair as they go off looking for the Internet.
Porn in the U.S.A.
When it comes to pornography, most of their revenues come from the Internet. Porn companies are losing millions during the apocalypse and their customers are in dire need for some, a new outlet with the same anonymity as the Internet had. After 30 days of no Internet, Halloween shops started popping up. Seems odd because it was only June. Gladstone walks into one of the Halloween stores and sees a large variety of costumes and men everywhere grabbing ones that have the best disguises. Gladstone follows a man who puts on a mask and walks into the backroom of the Halloween store. Inside is another large room full of pornography where people, men and woman, browse an enormous variety of DVDs.
Some did not care for the fake moans of passion that comes with pornography DVDs. Some wanted real life companionship in their sexual needs like they got from websites like Chatroulette. Gladstone says the flashers had to get creative and do their dirty deeds one at a time flashing their bodies to anyone who would join the circle.
Soon porn clubs began to rise in New York. The most popular one being Rule 34 where it catered to the most obscure sexual cravings around. “Things that would make even a German search engine blush,” Gladstone says. Rule 34 was located on the top floor above a steak house. So if you were caught there you could have a logical reason to be there. There were several rooms to choose from and the club took requests to have your fantasy fulfilled.
In one room you could watch Lara Croft in a three way with Batman and Caprica Six from “Battlestar Galactica.” In another room people watched Screech from “Saved by the Bell” was being dominated by Vicky the robot from “Small Wonder.” But unlike the Internet there was no button to click to be far away from porn as possible. Too much of something Gladstone thought would be good proved to be not fun at all. “At around 3:00 a.m., I finally went home vowing never to return to Rule 34, where I had spent hours and hours staring so intently at things I never wanted to see.”
Review from the Internet Apocalypse
The idea Gladstone had for the Internet suddenly dying seems interesting. Unfortunately, the idea proves more interesting than the book. Gladstone is a great comedian but lacks the capability in creative writing. He goes off topic in certain chapters and has flashbacks when it clearly does not need one.
“Notes from the Internet Apocalypse” receives two out of five stars because it fails to grab the attention of readers and the story sounds like a mixture of “Zombieland” meets “The Wizard of Oz.” On a trip finding something that they have lost is exactly like both films where Dorothy needs to find her way back home while Woody Harrelson is on a search for Twinkies.
Gladstone should have taken a rule from Twitter and used only 140 characters to tell the story of the Internet apocalypse because a trilogy will not be something anyone would be interested in.
“Notes from the Internet Apocalypse” is available now at major retail stores and Amazon for $23.99.
Michael Saakyan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.