Extras by Scott Westerfeld

The four Uglies booksExtras is the fourth book in the Uglies trilogy. Well, strictly speaking the trilogy – Uglies, Pretties and Specials – stands alone. Lets just say this is another book set in the Uglies world. You can read my review of that series here.

Extras is set around a new heroine in another city – this time in Japan. This city is based on a “reputation economy” where the most famous get the most resources. Sound familiar? To get famous you either need to be clever at something or you need to report or “kick” the story.

Fame is everything.

Your fame buys you luxury apartments, beautiful clothes, invitations to the most exclusive of parties. It’s kind of how our celebrities live now!

(You can also get merits by being a doctor or scientist… the merit system runs alongside the reputation economy.)

If you want a glimpse into the future this could be it. Obviously Scott Westerfeld has spent some time in Asia. In his future world anyone can “kick” a story. From our 15 year old heroine’s point-of-view, it’s her chance to go from a “face rank” of 451,369 into the top 1000.

The kickers in his story are our “Naturals” of today. They don’t travel anywhere without their cameras, they are completely at home with hi-tech equipment and then they “kick” their stories onto the internet. Just like on social networking sites of today – but of course far more integrated into their society. 🙂

Stories are then “kicked” on by others – just like you Stumble and Digg stories today.

I think that’s why I’ve found this series so engaging. Scott manages to pick up on contemporary themes and spin them out to see where they go.

A good series for teens, late tweens and young minded adults. 🙂