Picks and Pans Review: Utopia...or Bust!

updated 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/20/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Philip Garner

Garner's book of whimsical "inventions," Better Living Catalog, was such a success he has followed it up with this slender bit of fun. Among his suggested new products is the glass-bottom bus, which allows tourists on board to take photos of picturesque sewer lids. There is also a new sport called skeet bowling, in which the competitor shoots a bowling ball at a flight of tenpins. There are TV dinners that include disposable TV sets, a man's off-the-shoulder business suit for evening wear and a "Murphy" grand piano for small apartments—it folds conveniently into the wall. Garner's inspirations are always just close enough to plausibility so that they make you wonder: "Might someone do it?" And in addition to being just plain funny, he also seems to be commenting on our modern compulsion to motorize, amplify, streamline, miniaturize and, most of all, improve everything. (Delilah, $6.95)

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