A review by Nalini Haynes
Format: eARC but the link is to the paperback, 354 pages
Publisher: Solaris (Simon & Schuster)
Dave is a mostly normal guy until he decides to murder his best friend’s (Guy’s) girlfriend. Danielle’s sins were posting too many selfies, too many photos of food, too much self-obsessed inanity, all demands for attention. Murdering Danielle is easy then Dave falls down the rabbit hole. He decides to become a vigilante, cleaning up the internet.
In the opening chapter, Dave was mostly talk — exposition — explaining how he came to cold-bloodedly murder Danielle. I thought, “OMG, he’s a sociopathic Sheldon.” The blurb for the novel says:
Dave’s a pretty normal guy, online he enjoys humorous pictures of cats, and once or twice he’s been known – after perhaps a couple of glasses of red wine – to casually click through a few too many of his crush’s holiday photos on Facebook. But haven’t we all?
Mostly though Dave’s a nice enough guy; the kind who’ll pop £10 on your JustGiving page, even if this is the third fun run you’ve done this year.
That is until one day something snaps.
So he’s not meant to be different… or not much. In the opening chapter I felt Dave was flat, unlikeable, possibly psychotic.
Then Dave started talking about LOLCats and Friends and how they were funny before they became mainstream.
Dave’s second murder was a fraudster, pretending to raise money for charity in Danielle’s memory only the money never reaches the appropriate destination.
Amber, a cool Malaysian, becomes Guy’s girlfriend soon after Danielle’s funeral. People are angry, less with Guy and more with Amber. Why? Because internets.
Dave decides to take matters into his own hands with horrifying and hilarious results.
Murder and mayhem continue.
This Roman à clef novel references and spoofs many real-world happenings in internet history. However, characters are never solely one person. Vampantha, the woman tweeting #sackcrass (Crass being the MC for the CRIME convention awards), does so to gain attention, including mentioning that SHE had previously offered to MC the awards. Only one facet of Vampantha’s portrayal is based upon the Russell Brand Hugo Award debacle. Unlike the person who protested against Russell Brand, Vampantha is an erotic crime writer whose work is compared to E L James. And, indirectly, to [spoiler deleted].
Other characters include Jackie Aspley, the kind of vitriol reportage/opinionist people love to hate on the interwebz; corrupt profiteers; a Kenyan lover and Social Justice Warriors (SJWs). Goss (the author) boldly goes where SJWs fear to tread, even explaining GamerGate.
In Haterz, black comedy satirizes human nature, society and the remove created by the internet. Haterz should be on the reading list for every high school student undertaking social studies, every sociology student, book groups and all the haterz out there. In terms of enjoyment, I think Haterz deserves 4 stars. In terms of sociological comment in the form of a blue pill (or was it the red pill? Which movie, Total Recall or the Matrix?), I suspect Haterz deserves 5 stars. In 20 years, Haterz will serve as a time capsule, explaining the current insanity that is the interwebs.
As a compromise, I’m giving Haterz 4 1/2 stars.
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
“At the end of the day, it really is all about the cats.”