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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction



Andri Snær Magnason

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To purchase LoveStar

Title: LoveStar
Author: Andri Snær Magnason
Genre: Novel
Written: 2002 (Eng. 2012)
Length: 309 pages
Original in: Icelandic
Availability: LoveStar - US
LoveStar - UK
LoveStar - Canada
LoveStar - India
LoveStar - Deutschland
  • Icelandic title: LoveStar
  • Translated by Victoria Cribb

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Our Assessment:

B : creative and fairly original

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly . 17/9/2012 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Orwell, Vonnegut, and Douglas Adams are felt on every page, though Magnason is never derivative. His satire and insightful social commentary sweeten the pot and the sheer wackiness of Magnason’s oversized imagination is invigorating." - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       LoveStar is set a few decades in the future, where a company run and named after LoveStar (as the brilliant inventor Orvar Arnason takes to calling himself) dominates life -- and death.
       Things went wrong in our electronic age, when:

the world was so saturated with waves, messages, transmissions, and electric fields that animals were reading all sorts of gibberish from the air.
       When it began to affect technology as well -- jumbo jets crashing from the skies -- it became necessary to find an alternative -- and LoveStar and his company did, finding a way to: "transmit sounds, images, and messages between human beings using birdwaves". This allowed for a whole new level of connection -- but LoveStar controled access to it, and since it proved nearly indispensable for practically all commercial and much social activity, LoveStar ultimately became an incredibly powerful corporation involved in almost all aspects of humans' lives.
       Andri suggests some of the consequences -- including the widespread use of 'ad howlers': people compensated to blurt out reminders or enticements to an advertiser's target-audience, whenever a potential customer is in the vicinity -- a whole new level of personalized marketing. LoveStar also controls the death business with LoveDeath, which involves shooting the dead into space so that when they reënter the atmosphere they light up the sky like a shooting star; by now, "LoveDeath was ubiquitous." And beyond death, they also control love (with inLOVE), as everyone's ideal mate is 'calculated' for them, as in some perfect matchmaking site.
       No one really questions the wisdom of love being calculated, or most of LoveStar's other intrusions into personal life. Everything seems to work out well enough -- and those that do sometimes wonder whether or not they have done the right thing can always turn to another LoveStar invention: REGRET, which people can contact and which will provide them with an answer to what would have happened if they had chosen a different course or action. (Curiously, no one seems to find it suspicious that REGRET's answer is: "almost always along these lines: You would have died" -- the relief at having chosen the path that allowed them to live apparently being all the reassurance they need.)
       LoveStar has two central narrative threads. In one, LoveStar himself is flying in his jet, holding a precious seed in his hand; to emphasize the fact that something dramatic is happening here readers are also told that he only has few more hours to live. The other tells the saga of Indridi and Sigrid, two young people passionately, ridiculously in love. They haven't been 'calculated' yet but figure it's only a matter of time before inLOVE merely confirms what they already know: they belong together. Of course, things turn out differently, as Sigrid is matched up with someone else; they'll have none of that, but LoveStar has the means and power to make life difficult and nudge them towards their calculated destinies.
       Will true love conquer the seemingly omnipotent power that is LoveStar ? Readers won't need three guesses to answer that question -- but Andri takes things considerably further, as LoveStar's ambitions with a grand LoveDeath spectacle may finally take things too far in the book's (and love-story's) climax. But Mr.LoveStar, seed in hand, of course holds the promise of a different future .....
       Andri paints his future-vision with very broad strokes, inspired stuff -- Chicago, lost to the bees and drowned in honey ! -- that isn't explored in any sort of close detail. It's a fantastical world -- communication via bird waves ! -- that of course can't stand up to much scrutiny. More disappointing is that not all (or even that many) of the consequences of LoveStar's dominance in private and public life are closely explored. But even if the book is too small to comfortably contain all this ambition, Andri tells a pretty good story. The style is agreeable, the pace good, and even when it all goes a bit off the creative rails ("All was quiet when Indridi unzipped the snoring wolf the following morning. He crawled out and saw that the animal was covered in gray dust") it's all so genial (even the apocalypse !) that one is willing to accept Andri's allegorical (and simplistic) excesses
       Exuberantly odd, LoveStar is probably not for everyone, but it has a certain charm.

- M.A.Orthofer, 7 January 2013

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LoveStar: Reviews: Andri Snær Magnason: Other books by Andri Snær Magnason under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Icelandic author Andri Snær Magnason was born in 1973.

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© 2013 the complete review

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