Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart reveals just how controlled by the media and all things electronic, the modern world is or could be, if there is no attempt to restrain the obsession. A question that could be asked of this novel is
- Can Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart be described as science-fiction or, at the very least, futuristic?
The book is set in the near future and people exist in a world where books are "that terrible calumny of the new generation," they "smell” and "People just aren't meant to read anymore."
There was a time when people scoffed at the idea of talking on the telephone whilst actually being able to see the person they are talking to. Now, the word "Skype" is in the dictionary (since 2011)and skyping is a readily- understood concept. In this novel, all the new words, or abbreviations of newly-coined words and phrases, such as "teening"- using your "Global Teens" account or TIMOTOV- "Think I’m About to Openly Vomit!"- add a futuristic but very possible scenario to the novel.
Immortality is something that continues to elude society and in fact, "any life ending in death is essentially pointless" and so Lenny and others like him will pursue everlasting life. The very fact that Lenny works in the "Post-Human Services," in a less-than-democratic society, allows the reader to recognize certain science fiction elements whilst at the same time, the reader can appreciate the similarity to the modern day and the effect of technology on relationships that is already a reality.
- Consider and discuss the social and economic situations that exist in Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.
Having created a very broad Information Society where privacy is not considered important and manipulation of information is commonplace, serving the purposes of self-absorbed citizens and politically-connected organizations, people operate almost automatically. It is people themselves who have thrust the media into an honored position, a preferred career.
The dollar is no longer a revered and wholly-desired currency. Americans have lost not only their edge, suffering from "the tiredness of failure imposed on a country that believed only in its opposite. Here was the end product of our deep moral exhaustion." Ironically, the US has become a commodity in itself, sold off and, in business terms, people are classed according to their "net worth."
- "Isn't that how they used to do it a century ago, people reading poetry to one another?" Explain how this quote from, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, reflects the loneliness and isolation that exists in a digital age and the changing face of relationships.
Children's voices usually help adults reminisce to a happy childhood but the classrooms in Shteyngart's novel are almost silent and it is the tapping on the keyboard that indicates progress and the potential for achievement, serves as a warning that technology needs to be moderated to avoid the potential for a meaningless existence. For Eunice, thinking about her family is almost, "a cruel side trip into the impossible, an alternate history."
Eunice's inability to cope after "The Rupture" is a clear indication of how technology has altered her, and others, capacity to communicate. Without an audience, there sometimes seems as if there is little need to interact. Although Eunice is tempted by the books in Lenny's apartment, her attention span is short and not being able to shop online is far more important.