This is Carl's Brain
Big Egos by S.G. Browne

big egos

Big Egos is a bit of a departure from S.G. Browne’s other novels.  In this novel, he dips into the not too distant future set in a superficial society where people are no longer interested in living their own lives and feel compelled to be other people.  The characters in the novel have shallow lives and yearn to get lost in the lives of fictional characters and dead celebrities.  To feed this fixation is EGOS, a biotech company that has created a formula using engineered DNA that allows people to transform into somebody else for a brief period of time.

Our main character works as a customer service manager at the company.  He uses so many egos that he begins to lose his own identity.  Eventually, he can’t tell reality from fiction and gets so confused that he hardly knows who he is, where he’s at, and what’s going on in his life.  When his best friend Nat is nearly killed after stealing black market egos, he vows to put an end to all of this fictitious living.

S.G. Browne is a master of satire.  In his previous novels, his social commentary is more masked within the story.  This time, his social commentary is more in your face, and can come across heavy handed.  The narrator is a likeable character.  I very much enjoy Browne’s prose.  He has a nice, easy going style that makes reading a breeze.  What I didn’t like so much in terms of the writing in this novel is that he jumps from past to present to dream like states and it’s very disorienting.  This may have been Browne’s intention, but ultimately it mostly served to confuse me.  The novel starts off in Browne’s usual light-hearted style, but about half way through really turns dark, perhaps a little too dark.  Despite some of the flaws, it was a strong novel with a good pace and interesting characters, well worth reading