Since my erstwhile traveling companion heard that we should allow 3 hours for a trip to the airport in Chicago, I arrived at the terminal with 3.5 hours of wait time. Thankfully, that time passed quickly as I blazed through RASH by Pete Hautman. Wow, what an incredible read and a real departure for Hautman. Think 1984 meets HOLES. No, that does not do this justice. Think futuristic, think humor, think biting political humor, think football, think corporate America. Heck, just read the $&^^E#&^ book. In the very late years of the 21st century, everyone lives longer thanks to the work of the USSA government and especially the FDHHSS, an agency dedicated to making sure not one gets hurt. Bo, however, seems to break the rules about safety and security. Perhaps it runs in the family since his father and brother are both doing time for offenses such as road rage. Bo gets seriously twisted when he spies that mink-faced Karlohs (he of the supercilious name and attitude) getting all the attention from his beloved Maddy. Bo is sentenced to work out in the Canadian wilderness at a factory owned by McDonalds where he will help manufacture hand tossed pizza for the yuppies back home. But Bo is fleet of foot and attracts the attention of the Hammer who selects Bo for a football team. Football--wasn't that outlawed? It does not matter out in the wilderness. It is either football, tossing pizzas, or being eaten by bears. Interesting choices for Bo.
Hautman has created an absurd future, something akin to Heller in Catch-22, just plausible enough given the state of our states. Bo is a teen caught out of our time and captured by the PC and safety-consciousness of the future. His reactions, what we would consider realaively harmless by contemporary standards, are out of sync with the future world. Hautman has provided plenty for readers to giggle gleefully over and some real grist for the mill as well.