Neon-Budapest Book Review

Jun 10, 2023 | Journal

Neon-Budapest written by Neon Genesis Kunság is a perfect satire of today’s Hungary and to a degree of the Western World. For some it can prove scary, for it represents and stands for all the horrors that extreme notions and ideologies represent. It puts to the test all the agendas that influence many of our youths today. Moreover, the presentation within the satire of the various woke, neo-communist, and anarchist ideologies show perfect analogues through a black mirror to the same ideologies that ruined and burned the world throughout the 20th century. The fuel that burns these also shed light to the issues and the various fallacies that lead to such senseless death. Therefore, despite the sacred sounding ideas behind the movements are hollow in practice and will lead to the same outcome that could result in a dystopia. As for the main characters, this in turn results in hypocrisy by the woke activists, who do exactly the same as their enemies – the so called Nationalists or Nazis – are doing. In conclusion, by the end of the book there is no equality, just the same discrimination by a different group that leads to nothing but ashes and ruin.

The dominant themes in the narrative revolve around political and cultural issues. Especially the struggle between the different extremist groups. First, the way the revolution devours its children in the first half of the book. Second, we get a glimpse of the horrors of war and the tyrannical leadership that are the result of the extreme sides of various ideologies (the left – represented by the woke, the right – through the nationalists, and the central – by positioning them as cultists of the underworld). Third, the ending is inevitable, mainly due to the fractured society of Hungary and the herd-mentality that ultimately defeats any and all revolutions and leads to ruin, because extremism rules out any kind of agreements between the hostile groups.

Moreover, topics and themes are discussed that are similar to the History of the Soviet, Nazi or the French revolution. Such as the rivalry between the political parties and the members of the revolution. For example, there is an analogue to the way how Stalin was eliminating rivals, and to the power-vacuum after his death. Also, we can see a modern adaptation of Robespierre’s and Danton’s relationship. But there are other grim examples that are akin to how the SS eliminated the SA. There is one other very important idea behind the whole story, silently lurking behind the scenes, which is how a group of the elite is using the underdogs to fight their battles. In the end the extreme ideas lead to devastation and mass death with the total destruction of Neon-Budapest.

In addition, it is important to note that the group behind the book makes good use of the opportunities provided by modern technology. The publication and financing was made through Patreon. However, there is room for improvement in terms of editing as of yet. Hopefully by a second edition this issue will be corrected and probably the book is going to be granted an English translation as well.

In terms of genre, the book captures the feeling of the film-noir and cyberpunk style. Therefore, at times a passage reminded me of Cyberpunk 2077 and Bladerunner, but not just that at certain points the retrospective narrative seemed like an epic scene from an anime. The world building in the book is done perfectly and it gives justice to the serious tone it has under all the humor.

In conclusion, the book faithfully warns of the danger that utopian ideas can easily turn into dystopia and terror. The main tool to achieve the feeling of resentment was absurdity. The book paints very absurd pictures sometimes about the different issues such as sexism, racism and other social issues. Also, it nicely depicts the problem of the fragmented society that we have to face everywhere in the Western World. In addition, there are multiple insights and viewpoints included about the issue of how the previously mentioned courses stand against each other and there is almost no consensus on anything today. Let alone to mention the issue of the total lack of tolerance regarding any difference in opinion, which ultimately leads to individual groups going to extremes, especially against each other. A much needed criticism in an age of cancel culture that does not spare any kind of ideology!

I can honestly and whole-heartedly recommend the book for both the supporters of such ideologies and those who fear their outcome. It is illuminating for everyone and gives a unique outlook or an authentic description about the current dominant ideas among young adults in the age of internet, virtue signalling and tolerance. In my opinion, it is the best with a bottle of Chivas Regal and with some Cyberpunk music. May you enjoy (or suffer) your human made horrors!

Neon-Budapest is available on Patreon through the link below:

The pictures included in the article are taken from the Facebook site of Neon Genesis Kunság 3: