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The Virtual Boss

The Virtual Boss dust jacketEveryone wishes for the perfect manager, but few have their wishes fulfilled. What would happen if a software system were developed to act as everyone's perfect manager?

In the second of his wryly humorous novels about corporate life, Floyd Kemske creates this sort of virtual boss. The software system learns each employee's needs and wekanesses, and then exploits them in order to make the employee as efficient and effective as possible. If all you need is a reminder now than, that's all you'll get. However, if fear and abuse are what it takes to get you to work, the computer will make your life hell.

The Virtual Boss is the story of three people at Information Accuracy, Inc. — Linda, the software specialist who created the system but is managed by it; Arthur, whose life is a nightmare of intermittent reinforcement and punishment; and the president, Donald F. Jones, whose experiences as a manager were so frustrating and ludicrous that he created a company without any human managers at all.

From the Reviews…

“There is more truth in Kemske’s account than in all the consultants’ babble for the next 12 months. Oh, how I wish they would put him on the cover of Business Week!”
Boston Globe

“Kemske, who may have started a new ‘management novel’ genre with Lifetime Employment (Catbird, 1992), continues in that intriguing vein here, creating the most perfect hell since Dante’s Inferno and the most intriguing computer character since HAL in 2001... Highly and unreservedly recommended.”
Library Journal

Frankenstein meets Brave New World…”
Publishers Weekly

“‘The Virtual Boss’ is a grimly funny parable about a high-tech company in Boston that is run totally by software—a computer program nicknamed Chuck.”
Los Angeles Times

“There are shades of Orwell, Kafka, and Woody Allen’s Sleeper… its scathing assessment of the corporate mentality is dead-on.”

“Kemske creates worlds of the imagination that make the reader first laugh, then blanch, and then grasp the painful plausibility.”
The Boston Phoenix

“Kemske, in short, has the modern American workplace—or at any rate the workplace of about 15 minutes in the future—nailed down, and it ain’t pretty. It’s mean as hell.”
The Milwaukee Journal

“Kemske delivers a fine, tense read of a future that is painfully close.”

“Some bookstores shelve ‘The Virtual Boss’ in the general business section. It could just as easily be classified as humor, science fiction, mystery or horror. It is fiction, a terrific read that crosses boundaries and will appeal to readers of all stripes.”
Boston Herald

“This is a disturbing and disturbingly comic novel...”
Software Management News

“For anyone who has worked in the business world, whether in a small company or large, The Virtual Boss is a wonderful novel, and is very highly recommended.”
—WHUS FM Radio (Storrs, CT)

“‘The Virtual Boss,’ the second in a series of novels by Kemske that explore the complex relationships and realities of modern corporate cultures, is at once darkly comic, startling and reflective. You’ll laugh at its absurdities, then think again when you begin to recognize parts of your own office culture.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Into the sucking void of the virtual workplace steps one of the best pieces of speculative fiction published this year, Floyd Kemske’s ‘The Virtual Boss.’”
The Crypt

Chapter One of The Virtual Boss!

Published by Catbird Press. $19.95 cloth, 237 pp., ISBN 0-945774-22-2

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