In this incendiary first novel, a Navy aircrewman who calls himself “Aardvark” takes us aboard an aircraft carrier racing toward the push-button killing fields of the Persian Gulf War. Aardvark is. an Anti-Submarine Warfare Specialist Second Class — a paranoid slacker, a sardonic video-abuser, a trained cathode-ray-tube assassin — and his manic voice captures with satellite-imaged clarity a surreal shipboard world of gas masks, smart bombs, CNN, and free-floating dread. From the computerized charade of combat drills to the phantasmagoric excesses of shore leave in Honolulu and the Philippines, Aardvark brings to life a postmodern military menagerie of New Age psychobabblers, porn entrepreneurs, and nostalgic Cold Warriors — and records the creeping terror, twisted aggression, and media-stoked madness he is both part of and witness to. As the carrier moves Aardvark ever closer to “getting microwaved, toasted, infected, or poisoned by a missile full of nasties he can’t see, smell, or taste”, his experiences bring into focus an era of electronic simulation and sensory overstimulation, a time when human experience itself is under siege in the mother of all battles.
Caustic, disturbing, and fiercely funny, The Aardvark Is Ready for War will earn a place among the great subversive war novels.