- Writing style is casual but engaging, with an exaggerated millennial voice and tone
- Meme-ification of politics and future society that is both entertaining and despairing
- An important lesson about online etiquette and bullying
- A warning about the dangers of social media and its consequence on society
- Protagonist is a bit immature and idealistic even if she is young
Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick Review
Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick by David Wong is one of those books whose title is clear about what the protagonist’s personality will be like. Much like the title, the voice and style of the female protagonist refuses to be silenced or ignored.
While the writing style if casual and engaging, the protagonist herself feels a little too exaggerated, almost like a meme of some characteristics of the millennial generation, namely naivete and immaturity. When she doesn’t get her way, she throws a tantrum or sulks in her room. But this quality about her perhaps makes her relatable to some audiences, and perhaps her bouts of crying and weakness are endearing in that they illustrate a flawed and unlikely hero.
In a future where memes dominate, direct, and even dictate social norms instead of a handful of powerful and global media networks, a young Zoey is at first a victim of her times. Despite her vast inherited wealth and power, her impoverished background contributes to her low self-esteem and distrust of her own decisions.
Memes have been a part of human culture for as long as people have been living together in societies. But social media has allowed memes to spread to a large number of people in a very short amount of time. Wong takes this idea a step further and imagines a society where a generation of people who pioneered social media have grown up and raised kids of their own.
The result isn’t a very positive imagination of society: the setting is devoid of government and run by different gangs, or businesses, that control different industries and police themselves. Only the knowledge of a mutually assured destruction maintains order. Surprisingly, the residents don’t seem to mind living in such a society, but that’s only because they spend their lives in some virtual reality game. They choose to ignore their dim prospects in the real world in order to pursue a different, and more equitable life, in the virtual.
So it’s not surprising that the virtual world bleeds into the real world through memes. Maybe this idea is a reflection of our own society where the magnitude of wealth (and other) disparities drive some people to display, however false, a modicum of success and happiness through social media. This drives a cycle of pretensions on social media that only begets more disillusionment and despair. So maybe there’s not too much difference between Wong’s imagined society and ours.
Zoey Punches the Future in the Dick by David Wong is a fun story with a young female protagonist who manages to save the day even though she’s young and naive. The story itself is an exaggeration of the generational differences between a generation without social media and a generation raised surrounded by social media. Caught in the middle is someone who has to bridge the two generations in order to prevent one from destroying the other.
Read reviews of other fun science fiction books with female protagonists.