The book: Disco 2000 (Sceptre, pounds 6.99), a titular rip-off from Pulp which embraces 19 stories all set on the millennium's last night. Chroniclers of Generation X (Douglas Coupland, Douglas Rushkoff) rub sweaty, chemically- assisted shoulders with SF lords (Neal Stephenson, Robert Anton Wilson), BritLit bad lads (Nicolas Blincoe, Martin Millar) and a few Writing Riot Girls (Tania Glyde, Poppy Z Brite). Together, they brew a cocktail of apocalyptic fantasies, from the banal to the bizarre, with plenty of terminal parties and a spacily portentous mood.
The deal: The first Champion compilation, Disco Biscuits, proved to be, well, massive. Led on to the dancefloors by godfather Irvine Welsh, its gang of High Culture devotees sold in tens of thousands thanks to a canny marketing campaign that reached raving readers in clubs and campuses. This PR buzz concealed some pretty iffy contributions, but Champion's new fix arrives with a heavy sales strategy already well in place. Disco 2000 boasts its own CD soundtrack (on boka records) and Sceptre plans another ballroom blitz.
The goods: Let's pass with a goofy grin over the downers in this mixed bag (and there are quite a few). On the bright side, Courttia Newland has a sensitive novella about a West London graffiti posse. SF guru Robert Anton Wilson blends the Joyce of Finnegans Wake with Arthur C Clarke; Martin Millar has fun at the Millennium Bondage Ball; Douglas Coupland reflects on the toxic residue of our "hundred years of extremeness". Cheekily, Neal Stephenson chucks a clever spanner in the works of this formula-driven project. And what is the formula? Try this line from Doug Hawes: "Globalisation and drugs, my friend. A heady combination, you mark me."
The verdict: Not heady enough, once you imagine what J G Ballard (the Main Man behind many tales) might have done. The wild unevenness matters, as Champion's anthologies do plug into the tastes of book-averse clubbers. So, while Sceptre pulls its act together, read the great historian of pre-millennial tension, Norman Cohn, along with his rock-writer son Nik - who created the original Saturday Night Fever. Spooky, eh?Reuse content