Big Shop Of Horrors
released OUT NOW! 224 pages | Paperback/ ebook
Author Blythe Woolston
Publisher Walker Books
In Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, most of the human colonists eventually choose an Earth devastated by nuclear war over the strange isolation of the Red Planet. But what happens when life here becomes as alien( ating) and inhospitable as Mars? That’s the question posed by Blythe Woolston’s fourth YA novel, a shrewd satire of rampant consumerism that’s less about the death of the American Dream than death by the American Dream.
In the near future, teenager Zoë Zindleman is forced into virtual slavery at AllMART, a powerful megacorp with a resemblance to a certain US retailer. Re- named “Zero”, our heroine is subsumed into the corporate machine, experiencing the same loss of identity felt by those Martian settlers.
This is not new territory: it’s 25 years since Douglas Coupland popularised the term “McJob” in Generation X, and MARTians can trace its heritage through the likes of Chuck Palahniuk and JG Ballard all the way back to Orwell and Huxley. But it’s an effective introduction to dystopian sci- fi, and a cautionary tale for an age when the Cold War that fuelled Bradbury has morphed into an endless, soul- crushing price war. Paul Kirkley
Blythe Woolston is named after a town in southern California ( Blythe!), where her father was stationed during WW2.