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Information overload is a theme presented time after time in our technology driven age. Raw Shark Texts asks what is the balance between knowledge, power, identity, and insanity. Eric wakes up having no idea who he is, he tries to live this way, but finds that being nothing but a bag of skin and maybe some chemicals is not enough for him. Ward wants to transcend the bag of skin as well, and does so to an extreme. He is well on his way to acquiring an infinite amount of knowledge, but he loses his humanity along the way, and cripples everyone’s humanity who is a part of ‘the agreement’ as well. Hall places importance on human interaction. Ruth and the truck driver are given good portions of chapters, only because they represent humanity. Despite all of the coding and technology whirling around, Hall still takes the time to intimately describe the feeling of skin on skin interactions. The entire novel, Eric is trying to find his humanity. The book focuses on the human experience as the hero. It takes human connection and thought to an actual physical level, in order to accentuate it’s importance. If we thought of every word he read and said as a river, we would realize the power of each expression we created.

The novel makes many strange connections between what would be thought of as purely hypothetical into actuality. Even in the midst of much abstraction and invisible river ways, the book focuses a lot of physicality, not only between lovers but in places. Un-space, is surprisingly.. concrete. Papers, letters, packages surround Eric. He, Ian, and Scout travel endless miles through pages and pages of words.

The vast blue ocean, an expansive endless amount of knowledge and pure nothingness have a lot in common. One could get lost in any of the three.

-Esther Nicole Ochoa

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