...Sweetness #9, by Stephan Eirik Clark, an up-to-the-minute satire of the high-stakes world of the flavor industry—the chemical tinkering that goes into creating real flavors for entirely fake processed foods. David Leveraux thinks he’s won the chemist lottery when he lands his dream job as a “flavorist” for a secretive corporation, never mind that he has to start off in the animal testing department, determining whether the delicious additives the labs are cooking up have any unwelcome side effects. Side effects like, say, anxiety, obesity, and general malaise, which he discovers in animals given an experimental artificial sweetener called Sweetness #9.Read about the other entries on the list.
David considers blowing the whistle but keeps quiet for the sake of his career, setting off a ripped-from-the-email-subject-lines debacle. Within a few years, Sweetness #9 is everywhere, and consequently everyone is eating a lot of it, and a lot of people are feeling anxious, and fat, and generally unhappy with their lives. But lots of us feel that way anyway, so is fake food really to blame? Is there something more damningly artificial at the core of our culture than simply the chemical bonds that make Twinkies taste good? Should we stop eating junk that makes us feel bad and take care of ourselves instead? Eh, that sounds like a lot of work.
My Book, The Movie: Sweetness #9.
The Page 69 Test: Sweetness #9.