Machine Man by Max Barry

As a long-term fan of Max Barry, I’m pimping his new book Machine Man. It’s the story of a lonely scientist, Charles Neumann who loses a leg in an accident. Unhappy with the clumsy, rudimentary capabilities of the prosthetic device, he embarks on a quest for improvement. If you are at all familiar with Max Barry’s novels, then you know to expect dark humour.

Anyway, the full review is here at Mostly Fiction

and SCORE!! for the interview go here

But here’s a quote from the book, one of my favourites that should have you either dashing to your local bookshop or putting the book in your virtual shopping cart.

This is Cassandra Cautery, from the company Better Future talking to Charles Neumann:

“I’m a middle manager,” she said. “Some people think that’s a pejorative, but I don’t. There are people above me who make business decisions and people below me who execute them and those people live in different realities. Very different. And my job is to bring them together. Mesh their realities. Sometimes they’re not completely compatible, and sometimes I don’t even understand how someone can live in the reality they do, but the point is I mesh them. I’m like a translator. Only more hands-on. And that’s what makes the company work. Middle managers, like me, meshing. So let me take a stab at your reality, Charlie. Do you know how much money there is in medical? A lot. And more every year, because you invent a better heart and it doesn’t matter how much it costs, people want it. because you’re selling them life.” She blinked.  “You’re selling them life.” She patted her jacket pockets. “I need a pen. But what’s the problem with medical? The market is limited to sick people. Imagine: you sink thirty million into developing the world’s greatest artery valve and someone goes and cures heart disease. It would be a disaster. not for the … not for the people obviously. I mean for the company. Financially. I mean this is the kind of business risk that makes people upstairs nervous about signing off on major capital investment.”

And here’s Charles meeting physical therapist, Dave:

Then came the physical therapist. The second he bounced in I realized I was back in gym class. He was fit and tan and wore a hospital polo shirt small enough that his biceps strained the seams. Tucked beneath one was a clipboard. The only thing missing was a whistle.

And finally here’s Max on Youtube with a preview of Machine Man:



Filed under Barry, Max, Fiction

13 responses to “Machine Man by Max Barry

  1. The middle manager… Made me laugh.
    I’m not sure about the prosthetic device theme… Yeah, I’m a wimp when it comes to things like that.

  2. I was waiting for this one (impatiently). The book is somewhere in the post between America and France. (I’m waiting for it, impatiently too)
    I love the quotes, he’s so funny.

    On my way to read the review and the interview.

  3. leroyhunter

    OK, there are a lot of pointers to the fact that I should read Max Barry at some stage.

  4. This sounds great. As a retired middle manager I love the quote … my question is not so much whether it is too gory but whether the humour is too broad or slap-sticky. Sounds as though it’s not. Also sounds as though it would make a good film?

    BTW Currently reading The duel. Is that the recent free eBook? I downloaded it but am not sure when I’ll get to it.

    • All of Max’s books (except this one) have been optioned for film, but so far the only one in production is Syrup. No I don’t think the humour is too slapstick. There’s always a serious side to his comic view of man vs corporation. Emma ( has reviewed both Company and Syrup. Her reviews will give a sense of what to expect, and HELL, Max Barry is AUSTRALIAN!!! What more do you want?

  5. Pingback: MostlyFiction Book Reviews » MACHINE MAN by Max Barry

  6. Pingback: Monday musings on Australian literature: Guest Post from Guy of His Futile Preocupations « Whispering Gums

  7. Mmm, I was disappointed by this one, to be honest. I picked the same quotes as you, he’s hilarious but I expected more depth than that.

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