Outrageous Fortune begins with Jonny X67’s house having been stolen while he was at work designing dreams. Not robbed, not broken into, the entire house has been taken away.
All that is left is a business card, dropped by the thieves, that says “Don’t you hate it when this happens?” and a phone number.
From out of the sky drops a relentless encyclopedia saleswoman, who has jumped from an helicopter. Seems she knew he would be vulnerable at that moment, and is going for a big sale. Things get more bizarre from there.
Jonny must get his house, and his life, back from wherever it has gone. But first, he meets up with his friend, Mat, at a favorite bar of theirs called “The Most Inconvenient Bar in the World”, a name it lives up to.
Before they can sort things out, four motorcycle riders smash into the bar, trash the place, and kidnap Jonny. They want him to assassinate God for them. Jonny spends the rest of the book unraveling the mysteries about just how and why he is in this situation in the first place, while also trying to figure out a semi-supressed memory he is carrying concerning the death of a close friend.
The world this takes place in is complex and imaginative, and seems like something that could possibly happen, someday. Record companies have become so powerful that they have taken the place of government, so now instead of towns, there are places named “Classical” or “Jazz”.
People live in the zone named for the music they enjoy the best, with others who have the same interest, and everything around them is tailored to suit this interest. Jonny lives in “Chillout” and hates both “Compilation” – where he feels people choose to live when they aren’t good at making decisions – and “Christmas Single” – which he feels is just plain ridiculous.
The police who were once in charge of traffic have become powerful enough to now be in charge of everything. People have phones embedded in their wrists with little jacks that they use pay for everything simply by connecting a wire into the jack. Faster than credit cards.
Elevators are sentient, and want to tell you the same stupid joke that is going around. Soda machines walk around hallways of businesses. Pop up ads have become holograms, that can appear out of thin air anywhere at all, not just on your computer screen.
The world is elaborate enough for me to want to go visit for a while. I found myself wondering about the intricacies of the world in this book when I was bored at work. Fans of bizarre fiction will enjoy this book. It has a Douglas Adams sort of vibe going on.