Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy (Public Works Trilogy)
High above Manhattan android and human steelworkers are constructing a new Tower of Babel for billionaire Harry Gant, as a monument to humanity’s power to dream. In the festering sewers below a darker game is afoot: a Wall Street takeover artist has been murdered, and Gant’s crusading ex-wife, Joan Fine, has been hired to find out why. The year is 2023, and Ayn Rand has been resurrected and bottled in a hurricane lamp to serve as Joan's assistant; an eco-terrorist named Philo Dufrense travels in a pink-and-green submarine designed by Howard Hughes; a Volkswagen Beetle is possessed by the spirit of Abbey Hoffman; Meisterbrau, a mutant great white shark, is running loose in the sewers beneath Times Square; and a one-armed 181-year-old Civil War veteran joins Joan and Ayn in their quest for the truth. All of whom, and many more besides, are caught up in a vast conspiracy involving Walt Disney, J. Edgar Hoover, and a mob of homicidal robots.
Matt Ruff's Second Novel, A Cyberpunk Classic
By John Kwok - August 22, 2004
Matt Ruff has written three novels in a literary career spanning nearly two decades; all three are rooted somehow in fantasy and should be regarded as fine examples of speculative fiction. "Sewer, Gas Electric: The Public Works Trilogy" is a dazzling, hilarious cyberpunk adventure set in the New York City of 2023. Ruff conjurs up a bizarre, almost dystopian, view of a near-future New York City laced with the political wisdom of Ayn Rand, who returns, resurrected as a major protagonist in this novel. Multi-billionaire Harry Gant strives to build the tallest building in the world while his ex-wife, Joan Fine, is joined by Ayn Rand, as they wage war against homicidal robots and a sinister conspiracy involving Walt Disney and J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's legendary first director, within the sewers of Manhattan. Ruff's novel is just as hilarious as Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash", but quite a bit longer. And not only are there apt comparisons to Stephenson's work here, but I can see some... read more
Brilliant, irreverent, a wild ride
By jsdunk "jsdunk" - July 18, 2004
Sewer, Gas and Electic is one of the strangest, most off-the-wall books I've read in years. And I loved almost every bit of it. If this is representive of Matt Ruff's work, he's a brilliant writer. The only reason that I didn't give the book five stars is that the ending is a bit weak compared to the rest of the book. But, regardless of the ending, the ride was worth it.The cast of Sewer, Gas and Electric includes a Multi-Billionare businessman, Harry Gant. Harry wants to do the right thing, but doing the right thing is boring -- it just doesn't hold his attention. So, he hired an environmentalist that he'd dated in college, Joan, as an executive in his company to keep him honest. They battle over company decisions and eventually marry and then divorce, all the time where the story occurs.Other characters include a non-violent eco-terrorist with a submarine decorated with pink polka dots that he docks under the statue of liberty, the crew of the submarine, including a... read more
Why have I never heard of this guy? He's genius!
By Christy Smith - February 21, 2006
Sewer, Gas & Electric takes place, for the most part, in New York City in 2023 as Matt Ruff explains in his intro: "...just like the present, only more so." Corporations dominate the city skyline with giant glowing advertisements while under them specially trained city workers track and kill the mutant inhabitants of the sewers. Althewhile, keeping these strange animals existence a secrete.
Early in the twenty-aughts a strange plague decimated the black population. This plague not only kills within days but also seemingly consumes the bodies leaving nothing behind. Nothing except strange rumors- tribes of green eyed blacks; while the ghosts of billions of dead negros seem to haunt every part of the Earth.
Ruff mixes the seemingly silly with the mortuary seriousness of a funeral and I have never read anything else that pulls off that conceit to this level of perfection except maybe , Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book) by Neal Stephenson. Below are a list of... read more