By Adrian Chamberlain
ISBN No. 978-1-4598-0150-9
A lonely student named Danny becomes popular at school when he invents a “Facespace” profile for a British rocker named James and befriends him. Then things get complicated. “What’s so special about Danny?” his classmates wonder. “What could a lonely kid who plays Parcheesi with his Mom on Saturday nights have in common with a big glam musician?” “What kind of banner ads would something like ‘FaceSpace’ run?” “FaceSpace” answers the first two questions, no problem. But I would have appreciated a bit more of the third: reading more of the mechanics of Danny’s deceit; the little nuance of character that makes readers believe James is a real person; the close calls when he’s nearly revealed as Danny’s invention. Certainly fake internet profiles and online bullying are hot-button topics these days, but – probably for space reasons – Chamberlain rushes to the moral point when a long, leisurely satirical roll-out of vanity, perception and technology would have been a more enjoyable read - for readers over a certain age, of course. But his book is intention-perfect: it’s a great starting point for all sorts of theoretical talking points. Given the cannibalistic state of TV, film and books today (where narrators are bright-eyed novices and cute, shadowy acquaintances are werewolves, vampires or worse), the fake profile has become more Wattpad than escort ad. Crunching a human being down to a few para- and photographs which evoke contemporary yearnings, the creator of the fake online profile is the new bedtime storyteller for the internet age.