Nikesh Shukla: Meatspace (2 stars)

An entertaining critique of digital culture and identity theft that fails to follow through its central plotline

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Nikesh Shukla: Meatspace

Meatspace is very much concerned with the internet, and the ways it affects our social lives. Shukla explores this through the character of Kitab, a semi-successful writer who soon finds his online life in tatters after his namesake tracks him down through Google searches, begging for a place to stay.

Unfortunately, this central 'Kitab 2' plotline doesn't really go anywhere. At several points it is set up to become a cautionary tale of identity theft and the perils of broadcasting your every move to the world, but it never follows through, and most of the time you're just left wondering why Kitab keeps allowing this annoying and unbalanced creature into his life.

Where the book scores highest is in its critique of our digital culture, skilfully articulating that unsatisfying, disconnected feeling you can get from too much time spent interacting through screens. Even here, though, it hammers its points home, and the constant namechecking of every app and social network that can be crowbarred into the narrative is often irritating. Meatspace is not without entertainment value, but it's ultimately a frustrating read.

Published by Harper Collins on Thu 3 Jul

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