They call me Spaz, which is kind of a mope name, but I don't mind, not anymore. I'm talking into an old voicewriter program that prints out my words because I was there when the Bully Bangers went to wheel the Ryter for his sins, and I saw what they saw, and I heard what they heard, and it kind of turned my brain around.
"Nobody around here reads anymore. Why bother, when you can just use a mindprobe needle and shoot all the images and excitement into your brain? I've heard of books, but they were long before I was born, in the backtimes before the Big Shake, when everything supposedly was perfect, and everybody lived rich. Personally, I doubt the backtimes ever existed. It's like a story you tell to make yourself feel better. As if having a past makes the future somehow worth believing in. In real life, nobody comes to your rescue. Believe me, I know. But then I met Ryter, this old gummy who had a lot of crazy ideas. Together we tried to change the world..."A 2000 young adult novel by by Rodman Philbrick who you might know as the author of Freak the Mighty.
The Last Book in the Universe provides examples of:
Bittersweet Ending: Ryter's dead and The Urb has fallen into chaos after being cut off from mindprobes, which are essentially drugs. On the other hand, Bean has been cured of her illness and Little Face has a new home with the Proovs in Eden.
Crapsack World: The Urb, where most of the story takes place. Everything's broken down and smog fills the air, making everything you see grey, and everyone lives in perpetual poverty. Gangs rule specific areas and their word is law.
Crapsaccharine World: ...On the other side of the spectrum, you have Eden, within the Urb, which is exactly as the name implies.
Cursed with Awesome: Spaz, due to his epilepsy, can't take the mind probes. This makes him more intelligent and less passive than most others.
The Man Behind the Curtain: In one of the latches Spaz and Ryter pass through, the boss is a shriveled brain-probe addict who no longer has the physical strength or mental presence to run his territory. His gang stays together by dogmatically following the rules he laid down in earlier times.