Homo Zapiens Paperback – 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist of the novel Tatarsky acts a typical young Moscovite using every opportunity to find some firm ground in the confusing world of free economy. He becomes a successful copywriter who compensates his total lack of knowledge in advertising by artful citations from Trout's book "Positioning: a battle for your mind" and inventive 'localization' of American commercials. Some time later he moves into the sphere of high politics only to discover that all Russian politicians are nothing but virtual digital images run on TV by his own scripts under strict supervision by American government. Who's behind this conspiracy? Who runs the show? Why people believe it all? No spoilers here but the final answer is both unexpected and "Buddhistic" as all of Pelevin's novels and stories.
It would be a mistake to think that this novel is about confusion in post-perestroka Russia. Pelevin satire aims mostly at American values and way of life and mind manipulation brought by mass media, advertising and globalization.Read more ›
At any rate, I'll give my impressions of "Homo Zapiens".
Victor Pelevin, one of Russia's best known post-Soviet writers, has painted a bizarre picture of Russia in the 1990s. No more central planning, no more dingy consumer goods, no more drab retail landscape. Almost overnight Russians were wrenched from the dreary but predictable Soviet reality into a strange new landscape where Communist slogans meant nothing and consumer slogans meant everything! It didn't matter anymore if you wrote poetry or read Dostoyevsky, what mattered now was what kind of car you drove and what kind of cigarettes you smoked. Let's all stand and welcome our Russian friends to the shallow world of the Eternal Present - now go forth and consume!
Babylen Tatarsky just can't get no satisfaction. Like most people who lived in the erstwhile Soviet Union Tartasky found himself unprepared for the collapse of the USSR and the result is a mad scramble to adjust to a consumer culture which we in the West have conformed to thanks to decades of corporate propaganda and our resulting childlike fascination with shiny trinkets.
"Homo Zapiens" is a very good book but Pelevin started to go off the deep end towards the end of the story and I felt like I was reading a Russian version of Chuck Palahniuk's "Fight Club" minus the space monkeys but with the addition of magic mushrooms, digitized politicians and Che Guevara's ghost. Victor Pelevin also reminds me of Philip K. Dick.Read more ›
PS: this book is sometimes sold as Babylon.
In Homo Zapiens, the main character, Tatarsky, stumbles into a career writing ad campaigns for various consumer products, ranging from Sprite to Parliament cigarettes. His new job brings him in contact with a range of zany characters, and ultimately leads him to some disturbing discoveries - such as the revelation that political leaders do not actually exist, but rather are simply digital images created by media companies for public consumption through the air waves. Homo Zapiens is filled with similar social commentaries that add definition to Pelevin's slightly disturbing world view. It is a refreshing, and at times humorous, insight into the Russian mentality, but ultimately not a particularly enjoyable or important piece of writing.
Most recent customer reviews
this was the original title, i have no idea why they changed it.
this book is a side-splitting, hair-raising, bone-chilling, toe-curling adventure. Read more
Comparing modern-day-Bulgakov Victor Pelevin to Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk might seem misguided, but it gets to the core of what's so great about Pelevin's writing -- a... Read morePublished on March 13 2002 by Orlando Zepeda