“The World Clicks” is KM Breakey’s eBook about the evolution of an internet startup as it grows from the crazy idea of a disaffected computer programmer to the next great internet phenomenon. The story follows a corporate computer consultant named Lance Craig whose career begins to resemble Mike Judge’s eponymous “Office Space.” Craig sees a way out, though, in the internet frontier, and comes up with a plan to overtake existing social media juggernauts with an entirely new idea. Convinced it will change the world, Craig enlists the help of his two best friends to make it happen: Johnny Murphey, a dynamic executive banker with an infectious personality and an enviable list of contacts, and Thomas Carter, a similarly disaffected genius with an IQ off the charts. Together the three of them set out to invent “the next big thing.”
There’s a lot to like about this book, beginning with the Lane Craig’s narration of the story. Lane has an entertaining voice that’s fun to read and still entirely believable. The sense of humor that Mr. Breakey gives all his characters, but Lane especially is very well written and adds a very masculine camaraderie in the narration of the story, and much of the dialogue. The dynamic among the three primary characters is also really well-handled. There’s lots of swearing and friendly insults hurled between pals who drink together, watch sports, and leer at attractive women. But Lane, Johnny, and Thomas are all incredibly distinct characters, having strengths, weaknesses, and conflicts unique to each of them.
The writing itself also shows the obvious talent of the writer. The style is easy to read without being overly simple or insultingly stereotypical, and this keeps Lane Craig’s narration fresh, interesting and at times actually very funny. Mr. Breakey also has a very firm grasp of pacing. He knows when to get into and get out of a scene and subsequently maintains a really nice sense of momentum. Additionally, Mr. Breakey is clearly very knowledgeable about the technology he writes about, and has an eye for detail that doesn’t belabor or confuse the action of the story. From the standpoint of character development and writing style,
“The World Clicks” definitely deserves attention from any reader who has ever wondered about how the internet evolves.
Before I get into the small quibbles I had with it, there are two things I wanted to make readers aware of which have to do with the novel’s setting. First, “The World Clicks” is grounded in the world of 2008 and references the election of President Obama and pop culture which was popular at the time. It’s not necessarily a fault, but it does put it in the strange time period between the contemporary present and the distant past, which gives it the same feeling as when someone asks if you saw a movie that came out four years ago yet. Also, being set in Canada, it may contain some references that Americans don’t recognize, though to be fair Mr. Breakey is good about providing enough context to his cultural references that they’re easy to follow, even when they’re not entirely familiar.
As for the actual problems I had with “The World Clicks” they really all sort of boil down to a lackluster sense of conflict. Lane Craig certainly has a goal, but there are very few obstacles, problems or setbacks that punctuate the plot of the story. While there may be stories of start-up businesses where that is exactly the case, they won’t make for terribly interesting fiction because there isn’t a sense of any overarching conflict. As a result, “The World Clicks” feels like more of an extended anecdote than a story. There are some character conflicts in the book which might have made interesting sub-plots, but are not involved or central enough to carry the entire narrative of the story. Though Lane Craig has a really well-written perspective, the character’s motivations are less developed than they might have been, which lessens the necessary emotional investment of readers. Combined, the lack of an over-arching conflict and deeper character motivations give the story much less impact than it could have had if Mr. Breakey had given his characters more things to struggle against.
4 stars out of 5: “The World Clicks” is an interesting read for technologically inclined audiences, and features a very entertaining narrator and an equally humorous supporting cast. Aside from a few missing words, the writing is solid and well put together. The lack of overt and overarching conflict is a little disappointing, and may leave readers with less affection for the novel than they might have had otherwise. But it’s a fun book and an interesting narrative of the life of an internet start-up company for audiences looking for a light read with some adult themes and some commentary on the online culture.