The Adventures of Barry & Joe is here to go full pop culture


The Adventures of Barry & Joe is here to bring goofy pop culture references, a bit of a fantasy, and some actual science.

The Adventures of Barry & Joe has a very long subtitle that does a much better explanation of explaining what the heck the book is about: Obama & Biden’s Bromantic Battle for the Soul of America. These days, as American politics turns its attention to the 2020 elections, author Adam Reid has published a book that looks to the past. Drawing on Quantum Leap (openly), the book tells a goofy story of Barack Obama and Joe Biden attempting to rewrite history based on their own lives.

But goofy is not a bad thing, not all the time. The internet, back in the pre-Nov. 2016 days, had a lot of fun posting pictures of Obama and Biden together. In other words, they were memes! Reid’s book is very much a love letter to those memes as much as it is to pop culture, and that makes it a pleasant read.

What really might impress is the sheer depth of references that Reid makes, both in the writing and the art pieces. One page is a Titanic shout-out; the next is Simon and Garfunkel. And sometimes you get art like this:

This book is not meant to be a critical look at either Obama or Biden, however — and we mean that. Reid’s Biden, in particular, is owed much more to the internet’s meme-ified version of the former vice president. That’s not a criticism so much as it is simply a note for those not sure what to expect. It’s more just unironic fun, and that’s okay to have, even as Reid points out his “nightmares” thanks to the Trump administration.

What it does include, however, is some actual science. Time travel, as Reid even acknowledges, is a fantasy, but there are actual theories about how it might work. There’s a brief addendum at the end that acknowledges not all of what he’s working with is science, but some of it is, to borrow Reid’s word, “science-adjacent.” That’s right: the glossary might be the most interesting reading in this entire book for some of you, too, and that’s okay.

All the same, the book is on sale now.

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