John Forelli’s The Simulations opens with Ray’s interview for a new job running computer event forecasting simulations. He gets the job, but it’s not very interesting. He’d much rather spend the time with new found friend, Bob in the server room, where Bob plays The Sims, surrounded by bikini-clad beauties frolicking in a penis-shaped pool. When Ray develops a fascination with engaged receptionist Delilah, he and Bob begin running increasingly complicated computer simulations with the hope of helping Ray figure out how to woo Delilah away from her fiancé.
The Simulations is a veritable Groundhog Day of events, as Ray lives and relives his first encounter with Delilah, hoping to find the magic bullet, that specific series of words, phrases, or conversational topics, that will allow him to worm his way into her heart. Ray and Bob are stereotypical slackers, looking for any excuse not to work. Bob is a crass, Cheeto-eating loser, not your typical sympathetic protagonists. Rather the two are more like millennial anti-heroes, which is enough to make tail-end boomers like me cringe. What saves them is Forelli’s narrative. Reminiscent of Charles Yu’s voice in How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, Forelli’s voice is ironic, mostly via sarcasm, which imbues the story with humourous insight and keeps the reader turning pages.
If I had one wish for The Simulations, it would be a good copy edit. The story, characters and dialogue kept me reading, but an old stalwart grammar stickler like me kept on getting hung up on the punctuation and capitalization. I recommend The Simulations, a fun and easy read that will leave you questioning “what if?” at the end.
Mamabear gives this book
Note: I was gifted an eCopy of this book in exchange for an honest review.