Tuesday, December 09, 2003

By Marzo Trentaduesimo Puton
A pre-publication summary and review by Ayn Clouter

This novel presents the blogging world like a struggle between Mafia bosses, fighting not for money or power, but for links to their web sites. The main figure is the one with the most traffic and the most powerful links: Instypoohbah, the Blogfather, referred to by his supporters (who truncate his site's name at both ends) as Typo, or more respectfully, Don Typo.

The book begins in a courtroom, where TV commentator Bob Oriole watches in helpless anger as a judge, corrupted by fuzzy liberal ideas, throws out his lawsuit against a so-called comic for stealing the slogan of his news network. When his shouts of "Shut up!" are ignored by the judge, he realizes that the only place he can go for justice is to the Blogfather.

Meanwhile famed talk radio host Rash Lymphato gets the word that he is going to be busted for abusing prescription drugs. Knowing, despite his stupor, that this might dry up his loyal drug-hating audience, he is still sober enough to seek help from the Blogfather.

Then there is consultant G. Rove Narklist, who wants to elect a new Republican President, famed actor Adolf Dunkelheit, who just won a Governorship. Unfortunately, the new political star was born in another country and therefore is not eligible. Narklist understands that he needs assistance from the Blogfather.

All these favor seekers come to see Don Typo on the day of his daughter Megan's wedding. He promises to help, and orders his followers to bury the story about Oriole's lawsuit, to spread a new meme about Lymphato as a victim of painkillers he had to take due to vicious attacks on him by leftists, and to support a new Constitutional amendment to allow immigrants to be President. It's all routine for the Blogfather, who tells them that someday -- which may never come -- he may ask them for a favor in return. This is how he built a huge link empire, saying that he believed in being friends, and was willing to be a friend first.

Here we also meet Typo's three sons, who have their own web sites. All together, they are considered the verbal undertakers of leftists on the internet, and so are known as the Four Hearsemen. The eldest, Sullie, uses his own name, but the second son, Denny, calls his blog Poohlesser. The youngest son, Chucky, isn't as involved with the family's crusades -- yet. He actually started his site to do sports commentary, calling it Little Brown Poohballs.

Trouble begins when a greedy foreign filthy film king, Saddammo, wants Typo to link to his vile pay sites. He reveals that he has the support of Senator Decigram of Texas, who helped finance his movies. When the unimpressed Blogfather refuses to help, Saddammo hits Instypoohbah with a DDOS attack that burns out not only Typo's computers but all of his ISP's servers as well.

The brothers, waiting for their father to get back online, are not worried because they expect at any moment a devastating counterattack by his greatest weapon, the most deadly verbal assassin of all, Annie Luger. Though named after sharpshooter Annie Oakley, she specializes in brutal hatchet jobs. But their hopes are dashed when they receive her chrome studded black leather corset, wrapped around a small calamary. They learn that Saddammo framed her for sexual harassment and got her thrown in jail and fired from her job at the Nationalizing Revanchist.

Saddammo's material does have one major defender, John Trent. Lots of phony statistics claiming web surfers actually prefer sites with dirty images come from his pen. Chucky denounces the number faker as a racist because of a Confederate decal on his pickup truck. Although it was just the flag of his home state, his credibility is gone and he slinks away.

Chucky then stages a surprise attack. Condemning Saddammo as a Turk, because his ISP is located in a former province of the Ottoman Empire, Chucky stirs up nationwide wrath against Turks for terrorizing American web sites. Public outcry forces Congress to block all internet traffic from Turkey and any countries it ever ruled, including most of the Middle East and southeastern Europe.

Unfortunately, this also stirs up a liberal backlash against Chucky as an anti-Turkic hatemonger, resulting in a boycott of linkers to his site, led by Jimmy Cannelloni's site Independence Squared. Saddammo also retaliates by hacking Sullie's web site and filling it and his home computer with compromising representations of fellows who certainly seem well under the age of consent. Sullie is jailed and banned from the web.

The Blogfather himself then steps in and crushes Cannelloni's hopes of running for Governor of Pennsylvania, by spreading the word to his many contacts to dry up any major sources of funding. Then Don Typo calls for a secret summit meeting with some leading bloggers that are not part of his orbit, to discuss a truce.

This is where most of the peacemongering bloggers make their appearance. These, in their order from the Blogosphere Ecosystem, are the dozen web logs whose owners agree to meet with the Blogfather:

An agreement is reached at the summit. The liberals will stop supporting the boycott against linkers to Chucky's site, and some of them will even denounce it as a violation of free speech. In return, Don Typo agrees that there will be no more revenge by him as long as they leave his son alone.

During discussions the Blogfather realizes that the real mover behind the attacks on his family is the mysterious Immanentizer. Typo carefully promises only that he himself will not take revenge. Chucky, armed with this new knowledge of the enemy, goes outside the blogworld to secretly hire a specialist, Donny Lyticsin of Stalkers R Us, to find out who Adios really is, so that he can strike back.

Unfortunately for the Blogfather, calling these bloggers together gave them a chance to meet and start cooperating. Even as Lyticsin begins snooping, several of them begin an organization, the League of Leftys, to mutually exchange links. As this starts having effect, the group begins to grow. This concerns Typo enough that he has the supposedly neutral arbiter of linkages, Maori Ursine, denounce the whole idea as a communist plot. The link war goes on.

I will not spoil the devastating climax by telling how the book ends. This is a classic tale of macho family values under assault by decadent liberalism, with plenty of betrayal and revenge, and, just for spice, an ongoing subplot about making dirty movies.

I do like how he makes the heroes all conservatives who support invading Islamofascist dictatorships, and their enemies are all liberals, moderates, and other appeasing wimps. This is not just fine literary realism, but a reminder of what the beleaguered Bush administration has had to overcome.

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