From a review posted to the Terribly Good Stuff Blog at:
"...it was then that I realized the genius of this manuscript. No matter how much of it is truth, and how much of it is fiction, Tales of the Ubermensch: Hack.World is utter genius."
How can I begin to describe Tales of the Ubermensch?
The story is a personal recantation of well...God, this is embarrassing. I’m not exactly sure how to conduct this review. I can’t use any standard methods, becase it doesn’t really fall into any standard category. Technically speaking, Tales of the Ubermencsh: Hack.World is a personal autobiography, told earnestly and powerfully by our plucky narrator, Nada the Slave. His moniker becomes all-apparent in time, when he stumbles across a forbidden truth: Every single aspect of our lives is controlled by one woman.
Ignore the fact that this sounds completely ludicrous for a moment, because the story is pretty damn good.
Nada slowly unravels his painful tale, beginning with an anecdote of how he, as a child, was violently beaten by another preschooler, just for trying to include him in playtime. “The teachers stood by and did nothing. This was their way of teaching me a lesson.” Things only get worse from there. Nada reveals how he was raised in a cult, sexually molested, physically and verbally abused, and how he, in turn, performed similar acts on another, younger child. It’s a bit disheartening, because as personable as a narrator Nada is (you almost want to root for him), the content of his tale paints him as a pretty horrible person. He grows up to be a self-obsessed, manipulative man, pithy and psuedointellectual. He womanizes and lies and without shame, gossiping and storing up rumors as a personal defense. He becomes enamored with Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, whilst simultaneously absorbing a great many politically Democratic views. He focuses, with laser-precision, on religion as the true cause of evil in the world, ironically ignoring that, he, an atheist, has spread so much pain and deceit in the world.
In short, he’s pretty detestable.
But you like him.
It’s hard to explain, and I suppose you’ll have to take my word for it, because although Nada sounds like a horrible person, the humanity with which he confesses his sins is one hundred percent relatable. They are extreme examples created by extreme abuses, and it’s painful to watch, but you can’t hate him.
You can only pity him.
And pity him further once he meets Delilah, the ubermensch of Nietzsche’s philosophy. One of Nada’s sexual fantasies is hypnosis, and it is through this shared interest that he meets the woman claiming to be a hypnotherapist. They engage a personal encounter, and here Nada is doomed from the beginning. What ensues is a chaotic, quasi-religious experience: Delilah, it turns out, has practically unlimited hypnotic power, and plans to use it to cleanse the world of all things...well, everything she doesn’t like. Which, apparently somewhere along the line, includes incest taboos. But moving on: Nada is a victim of what Delilah calls the “Virus,” a mental meme residing in all who have caused or been victims of violence or abuse. Delilah’s plan is to either eliminate all of humanity, or eliminate the Virus, which she will do once she has taken control of all mankind. (Apparently this was accomplished in January of 2010. Hasta la Vista, Compatibalists. Looks like we don’t have free will, after all.) Delilah will give Nada a series of tests, and if he passes them the way she wants, she won’t exterminate humanity.
Uh-oh, right? All of humanity is to be judged based on the actions of a seedy polyamorist? Well, at this point, the reader is actually starting to like Nada a little, and when Delilah begins to weave her hypnotic web, we’d rather grab his hand tightly and hold him up than smack him in the head with a Bible.
So, Delilah begins her tests, called “The Glass Onion.” Basically, it has a billion layers, and all this varying, extremely complex hypnotic rigmarole of resurfacing memories, beliefs, illusions, and lies, all of which Nada has to sort through on a daily basis. Sometimes he is even forced to do things...terrible, horrible things that make this writer not want to recount them. This goes on for awhile. It’s horrible, it’s awful, and it actually does the best job of endearing a real human being to a “fictional” (Nada vehemently swears up and down that all of this actually happened to him) character that I have ever encountered. I’m not a particularly emotional person, but I was definitely feeling quite a bit during this book...especially the last portion.
The last portion of the novel is “The Epistle to Matt,” in which Nada outlines a great deal of his experiences, hopes, and opinions in a personal letter to a close friend. The letter is extremely convoluted with pop culture references and predictions of the future (of stuff that already happened). That’s a theme within the novel, by the way; Delilah claims to have used her hypnotic powers to create/influence Deathnote, Chuck Palahniuk, Torchwood, and a number of other equally peculiar things. The details chunk together incredibly well with the story, and since there’s no evidence to the contrary...it almost feels believable. But that’s beside the point. The real point of the Epistle is when Nada describes “Unity,” the perfect world that Delilah seeks to create...and that he WANTS her to create. It is in reading this portion of the novel that I felt unparalleled rage.
In the Epistle, Nada devotes himself to Delilah and her vision. He demands that, for the greater good of humanity, people should be hypnotically controlled. Their violent tendencies ended, their religious beliefs removed, their sins and negative aspects almost wholly removed. In Unity, there would be no conflict...but to a degree, no freedom. Not really. This freedom would be a hollow shell, manifested within the control of the Ubermensch.
Never, I thought to myself while reading this. Never in a million years would I let this happen. As if I had any choice.
Nada goes on to say that he truly loves Delilah, in spite of all the horrors she put him through. He says: “I never wanted her embrace to end. She loved me, and for this remarkable gift, I loved her back.” He claims that he doesn’t care whether she forced him to love her or not. He says that what matters now is that he feels it at all.
Such rage I felt at that! Such anger! Such pity!
I wanted to rip the story apart, and end it, and kill her, and free him, and it was then that I realized the genius of this manuscript. No matter how much of it is truth, and how much of it is fiction, Tales of the Ubermensch: Hack.World is utter genius. It is a truly compelling work of pop culture and real life events meshed seamlessly with outrageous claims that cannot be disproved. They are the sort of suggestions a paranoid schizophrenic might make; yet they are written with a calmness and clarity that says: “This is what happened to me. Take it or leave it.” It leaves the reader feeling shocked, sad, and a little bit hopeless. You wonder, if this was true, what could you do?
As Nada himself is so fond of quoting:
“A man chooses, a slave obeys.”