Review: Otherwise Pandemonium by Nick Hornby

Otherwise Pandemonium is a short story about a kid who has just lost his virginity. It's also a short story about the end of the world. Originally written and published in the wake of the events of September 11, it tells the story of a fifteen year old boy who is living with his mother in Berkley. He purchases a secondhand VCR (remember those,) which enables him to see the future ... only problem is the future does not look too bright ... in fact it doesn't even seem to exist. Which, though depressing, helps the kid to seize the moment and ...

This is a clever enough story that plays on many of the prevailing fears of the era. Like all of Hornby's work, it suffers one great failing, and that is that it already feels very dated and not in a pleasing way. I found this story included in a volume that was published by Penguin in 2005 and though it may have packed a punch with its original purchaser, for me the volume didn't make for great secondhand reading. Then again, for twenty cents, I probably shouldn't complain too much ...


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