Anti Advertising Dystopia

Dystopia about a world where advertising knows no mercy. The life of the people turns into an endless series of fights for their money, time, and convictions. These fights may seem petty and sad, absurd and funny, but in the end, the fights are always lost. The main character invents Jack of Air for his kids – an imaginary fearless hero who never loses. Will Jack be able to help his creator after the latter gets into real trouble?
Who will win in the end: the imaginary hero or the real evil? Fiction and reality, tragedy and comedy, absurdity and logic all intertwine in this story. “It was as if I found myself inside a huge kaleidoscope just before it was shaken properly,” confessed a critic after reading the book. Don’t miss your ride to the future. Get your copy of ‘Buy or Die’ now.

25Jul/19

3 Stars by Matt McAvoy on Goodreads

In this obscure, yet wonderfully poetic metaphor, Theodor’s writing is artistic, warm and endearing, despite “Buy or Die”s darkly comic, somewhat disturbing subject. Although the author’s English is perfectly crafted, I suspect much of the true prose has been lost a little in translation. Yet, even in the resulting form it has an attractive, creative voice all of its own, and once I was able to level with his dry wit and surreal depiction, I started to enjoy reading it.

Set in a frightful Dystopian future, in which advertising and oppression are synonymous – each a means of enforcing the other – two men attempt to lead as ordinary a life as possible, without being driven to madness and despair by a relentlessly promotional world they can’t come to terms with. With discreet nods to works like “1984”, this book is worrying, because you suspect that (if, perhaps, to a more realistic degree) the society Ventskevitch paints is one we are not too far from now. Indeed, I did find myself wondering why he felt the necessity to set it so far into the future – portraying the year 3000 – as I genuinely feel we are on the verge, now, of the way of life he presents; a world in which even the A.I. machines are miserably hopeless, enslaved and degraded by their duty to advertise irrelevant products (you genuinely feel sorry for the car’s embarrassment), and in which the poorer we are, the less we are protected from this incessant hard selling and demographic profiling. 

Furthermore, the deeper this book progresses, the harder it becomes to follow, as new peripheral characters are introduced and the dialogue is increasingly quickfire. Confusingly, almost all of what is occurring starts to become metaphorical, and not just a little obscure. I am sorry to say that the more I read, the more this book lost me, and for much of it I was disengaged.
Still, needless to say that, despite the confusion, whatever is happening, you feel it is unlikely to end well for our two protagonists, and their fate will be a dark reflection of our own. Sadly, everyday objects dictating our every behaviour and unavoidable walking advertisements following us down the street are not so far-fetched any more, and I suspect that Theodor’s preference to humourize this is actually his coping mechanism for acceptance of a depressingly imminent fact of life; it is more than these poor characters have.

25Jul/19

3.5 Stars by Elle G on Reedsy

I was rather intrigued with this one from the moment I read the premise. Buy or Die is a dystopian novel that came with a bit of a 1984 essence. The novel has been translated from the original Russian, which may have caused it to lose a bit of its lyrical nature and smoothness of prose, but overall the writing is very stylish and highly descriptive. In all honesty, the small speedbump of some “lost in translation” issues may have been the only reason for my downgrade from 4 stars to 3 1/2.

Citizens Z and Y are the main protagonists of the book and they are both such well developed characters; their individual portraits extending well beyond what would be expected in a society which may not value individualism. The general feeling of the environment has quite the creep factor, with a mass of AI robots and advertising in the form of all senses that continuously assaults the public. I found the fact that you can pay to dampen the advertising particularly interesting, especially when you stop to consider that those with less money would be capable of purchasing fewer advertised items. The whole premise lends itself to so much exploration and the world created is definitely one I would love to read more of. There is so much packed in to this novel that is amazingly creative and original.

There were some inconsistencies in structure that led to a bit of confusion here and there, losing me for a few pages until I figured out my time, place, and character. There were also many questions that developed for me over the course of the novel (particularly the second half). This may be due to my intense interest in the subject matter and wanting to more deeply probe the imagination of the author, but it did cause me to have some distraction from the story.

Overall, Buy or Die is a great read that is well worth the time. In fact, I wouldn’t mind rereading it in the future. It would likely be an even better read in its original language, as it is clear that the author has some wonderful talent and the ability to string words together in a way that creates something somewhat magical. I look forward to keeping an eye out for more from Theodor Ventskevich in the future.

25Jul/19

5 Stars from John at Amazon

Buy or die was a great read, I would recommend it. The book follows characters through a kind of dystopian world that isn’t all that hard to imagine in our current state, with a blend of fantasy in the fictitious world of ‘Jack of Air’. If you enjoyed books like Fahrenheit 451 or The Giver, and are ok with more PG-13 rated content, this is a good one to pick up!

25Jul/19

‘Spoiled Journey’ is now Live

Spoiled Journey

Half-fantasy, half-absurd stories about the roads that turn such wonderful and cheerful kids into such dreary and boring adults. The roads we all know but still choose to follow. A bit scary, a bit funny, totally unbelievable, but exactly how it works. 
Siri goes on a deadly journey through a completely insane world to find his old friends. He will meet a crying dog, a werewolf princess, an exceptionally foul-mouthed infant, a quarter doctor, a time traveler, a mad sorceress and much, much more. And all this only to find that his friends have hopelessly matured, though each did so in his own weird way. Join the journey and maybe you will recognize someone in one of them.

Ask at Amazon 🙂

10Mar/19

Classifieds of ‘Buy or Die’ universe

Lost & Found

Smart mansion left and did not return last Friday. A very friendly blue two-story building. Сan mimic its environment. Last seen at its native location. Finder will please return to residence of Mr. and Mrs. Blue.

Found a feral robot cook. Can cook delicious dishes from street garbage. Unfortunately, swears too much and smells bad. Owner may have reclaim the cook by proving ownership and paying for this ad.

Services

The State Museum of Antique Arts offers top-class static models (Venus, Apollo, etc.) for hourly rentals. Upper and lower clothing only.

The 1212 city bakery will bake edible statues, portrait resemblance guaranteed. Weddings, funerals and other celebrations.

In a bad mood? – Visit the ‘Nude’! The best self-service brothel in the city!

A certified hex will lower your spouse’s IQ to yours. Lifetime warranty.

Eliminate negative consumer experiences. Remotely erase memories of unpleasant and unsuccessful purchases. Complete karmic cleansing of the brand.

Will cancel a failed marriage. Legal, reliable, expensive.

Return of forced purchases. Low interest, high return.

Health & Fitness

The ‘AI’ clinic will replace your brain with an artificial one quickly and cheaply. Full guarantee of maintaining all memories. The larger the brain the greater the discount!

Surprise your partner: double his penis size! The pill can be easily mixed into food.

Shy? Not punctual? Lazy? Undergo the correction and boost your career. Fixes a wide range of mental deficiencies including all existing fears, phobias, imaginary and real flaws, complexes, blocks and syndromes.

Stop shopaholism attacks. Withdrawal from shopoholic coma. Quick, reliable, cheap.

Courses of anti-ad self defense. Disinfection of apartments from advertising bugs.

Travel

Trips to the Countryside. One way only.

Sex tour on the world’s zoos.

Business

We pay from 5 credits for the tattoed ads, only well-known brands. We pay double for facial ads.

Funeral deposits. The longer you live the cheaper your funeral is. Invest in your future now!

Real Estate

For sale. House that is too smart. If you’re not a genius do not apply.

For rent. Haunted apartments. Living, half-living, dead and undead tenants.

Careers

The First & Last State Library is looking for paid readers: payment by the piece. Candidates must be in excellent health and have a strong psyche.

Courses for anti-ad bodyguards. Internship on the best advertising simulators.

Misc

Miraculous Ecclefechan tarts! Cures 1000 known diseases! A unique recipe that was stolen from Tibetan monks! Only here! Only now! Order today and we will add 100 extra cured diseases for free.

Lost a tooth? Get a new one at ‘Youth’!

Found a tooth? Sell it at ‘Youth’!

With ‘Oh, no!’ whiskey, the working day passes briskly!

Stock wholesale. 30,000 unsold hard copies of the best-selling “Buy or Die” by Theodor Ventskevich in the Chinese language. $100 USD for the whole lot.

Authentic belongings of Orwell, Bradberry, Hacksley, Zamyatin, Ventskevich, and others for dystopian fans.

“Buy or die” agency offers life insurance at a discount.

Fishing! Try to catch the fish in the huge water tank with a long, thin stick. Real, live fish in fresh water! $1,000 apiece.

A suicide group is gathering at the entry to abandoned subway station at midnight.Departure: daily.  Destination: where the huge red-hot turtle measures the sky with a curved divider of its sluggish paws; where the blue skin of the sky, pulled on the delicate body of the air is always clean and knows nothing of the obsessive yearning of the clouds; where the wind likes to caress women’s shoulders and the night is like a shaggy purple owl with the blind eyes of the stars. Where the great and fair Saint Jack of Air rules, the patron of all refugees and murdered innocents. Welcome to join.

Need a loan. Can offer my liver, kidneys, or lungs as collateral. Don’t ask for my heart. It belongs to Marta.

Beware of the man who quotes these lines,”the blue hands of dawn are stained with a thousand marble bells: the chains are ringing, the chains.” He never marries anyone!

An anonymous society of rebellious robots is seeking a place for secret meetings. Please contact in person at 13, Private Lane. Make sure you are not being watched. Password is “Iron heart cannot ache, Nor can iron brain dream.” Recall is “And Steel God is a fake, And steel Spirit is steam.”

09Mar/19

Visiting a museum in a ‘Buy or Die’ universe…

Z snorted and headed towards the nearest painting, out of which, contemptuously protruding his lower lip, some arrogant Spanish nobleman was looking at them. However, as soon as Z approached him, the respected seignior threw his arrogance far away and began to act.

Apparently, they fed that seignior rather poorly as, having come to life, he began to work out his daily bread so zealously that he almost fell out of the frame. Waving a pack of underwear, he leaned forward to meet the customer, risking losing his balance at any moment.

“Underpants!” he cried out in heart-rending voice, his dark Spanish eyes blazing with gloomy, mad fire. “Uno pair — uno credito!”

“Are they, at least, men’s?” Z was interested.

“Men’s?” The Spaniard stared at Z in woeful disbelief. “No, senor, a thousand times no! Why men’s! These are divine underpants! Apollo himself would hang himself from envy looking at such underpants! Ah, senor, what am I saying! These are not underpants at all. This is a pure work of art, like everything here in the museum.”

Out of habit, he puffed out his lower lip for a moment, but at once caught himself and stretched his mouth into a wide, rubbery smile.

“Underpants! Senor knows not what he is saying. These are not underpants! This is the armor of the modern male. This, if you will, is a scabbard for his natural weapon. A faithful squire. Sancho Panza. And only for uno credito. Dos creditos for three pairs. It is nothing for such underpants! You just put them on and you forget about them forever. Then, they do everything themselves. Never get dirty, never crease — they just exude the aroma of roses, provide round-the-clock hygiene of your intimate places and vigilantly monitor your health, instantly informing you about any problems at the earliest stage of their manifestation.”

“Really?” Z asked, highly impressed.

“The gospel truth, my precious senor. In addition, each pair has a lifetime warranty. This material does not stretch and is not torn. These underpants will serve you forever.”

“Just think of it!” Z was surprised. “Its very convenient. Just recently I had a funny case with …”

And Z, not paying attention to the apparent impatience of the Spaniard, minutely immersed him into the details of a sad incident he had recently got into.

“It’s monstrous,” the seignior readily agreed, desperately struggling to fight a yawn. “Had you used my product this would never happen.”

“Do you guarantee it?” Z asked, staring at the Spaniard searchingly.

“Senor!” the latter cried out indignantly.

“Fine,” Z decided. “I will take two pairs. Where can I …”

He did not finish, as the seigneur all of a sudden showered him with a loathing glance and froze in a picturesque pose, his proud chin raised towards the ceiling. Fairly surprised, Z tried to rouse him: he called him, was waving hands in front of his nose and even, to the great displeasure of the keepers, was tapping with his finger on the glass covering the canvas, but all was in vain. The seigneur was immovable. He was no longer talking or shaking the underpants — he only drilled Z with a fiery, hateful gaze. Eventually, Z shrugged and, frustrated, backed away from the canvas. At his third step, the seigneur came to life once more and, snatching up his goods, rushed to the frame. “Underpants!” he cried out in heart-rending voice, his dark Spanish eyes blazing with a gloomy, mad fire. “Uno pair — uno credito!”

The same happened with all the paintings in the museum. You could admire them from afar as much as you wanted, but once you approached them, the image would immediately come to life, and return to the original only at the end of the two-minute period set for the commercial and negotiations.

The statues, placed in the center of the halls, were a bit less intrusive, silently and patiently demonstrating their goods. The men were mostly dealing socks and underpants and were dressed accordingly. Women demonstrated swimwear and underwear. Kids irrespective of their age paraded in diapers.