Friday, 21 June 2013


Charlie Brooker

Tomorrow's outmoded artefacts today. From the makers of TV Go Home comes a comic spoof of the consumer-product catalogues that arrive like an unwanted rash from newpapers and magazines. Modelled on those catalogues that are so welcome as they spill unwanted from your weekend newspapers in a magfall of bizarre information, this is a celebration of triumphantly useless and inappropriate consumer choices.

There’s a catalogue you can have delivered to your door in the UK, (Don’t know the equivalent overseas) called the BetterWare catalogue. In its pages you’ll find a collection of products that are certain to improve your quality of life to no end. Everything from storage devices designed to keep onions fresh to big toe straighteners (not a lie), it’s a list of products so bizarre that most of the time, you simply can’t fathom how they came into existence, let alone picture someone buying them.

Unnovations is the BetterWare catalogue re-imagined by Charlie Brooker and reads as a brilliantly funny and slightly worrying vision of the dark future of these products.

I’ll say right now, don’t buy this book if you’re not a fan of dark humour. Unnovations is dark humour at its blackest. Products include an alarm clock that stabs you in the face if you don’t get up, a matchmaking service connecting suicidal people with people who want to know what it feels like to take a life and the utterly disgusting genetically modified pig-man sex toy the Kissmammal. 


They’re vile, grotesque and…I can’t help it, absolutely hilarious. I laughed so much reading this book. I couldn’t put it down.

The outlandish products are great but the book is at its best with the handful of products that don’t seem too absurd, almost skirting the border of stuff that would actually make it into these catalogues. Products, like the series of plates bearing disgusting and depressing images to encourage you to leave food on your plate and help you lose weight, don’t seem so far out of the realm of possibility. You’re almost tempted to check and see if they exist in real life.

If I had one complaint, a lot of the time, the descriptions of the products don’t live up to the initial joke of the product itself and you’ll find yourself laughing at the image of the product more than the actual text. When it’s good though, it’s really good.

If you like dark humour you’ll love this. It’s really funny, slightly depressing, a little worrying and a great book to spend an afternoon with. Word of warning though, the order form in the book isn’t real. I learned this the hard way…I’m still waiting for my kissmammal….

Charlie Brooker

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