Agency

William Gibson. Penguin. (416p) ISBN 9780241974575

Agency

Agency

I’m a huge fan of William Gibson (I’ve not got a collection of Neuromancer in different editions…) and am always waiting for his next book with great anticipation, waiting to see where he takes us next.

In Agency, he gives us a ‘prequel and sequel’ to The Peripheral.

Like The Peripheral the story of Agency switches between two different timelines, a 2017 where Verity lives in a world where Hilary Clinton won the 2016 elections, and the other is set in the 22nd century post-Jackpot world of Russian crime families and advanced technology.

Written in short punchy chapters switching between the two time frames, developing character depth and interaction which makes you invest very quickly and ensures that you don’t want to put the book down. The explanation of the technology in the book works on extrapolations from existing technology so never really seems that far fetched.

Though the way interaction with ‘stubs’ is achieved is the most ‘out there’ technology mentioned it still doesn’t jar and t hat’s what I’ve always enjoyed about Gibson’s writing, especially Blue Ant Trilogy and the Bridge Trilogy, the technology could be out there now, being developed and tested as it is never an outrageous use of ‘black box’ technologies.

Another great addition to William Gibson’s oeuvre, and I’m now back to anticipating his next work.


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VOX

Christina Dalcher. HarperCollins. (400p) ISBN 9780008300678

VOX

VOX

I was so late to the VOX party amongst my colleagues, and I have no idea why?

It hits all the right targets for me a feminist dystopia looking at what could feasibly happen if we extrapolate from current trends.

Vox is set in an imaginable near-future where the ‘moral’ right has transformed the USA into a living hell for women, limiting them to domesticity and silence, and the laughing stock of the world. 100 words a day, more than that then an electric shock punishes the transgressors.

Does this seem to be too far fetched? If you think that you really need to watch more news.

The main characters are so well written that you empathise with them from page one, and following her development and her story of how it cam to pass was hypnotic.

Short, sharp chapters kept the tension growing throughout to the end.

This sits in the same area as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power, this is a must read.


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The Power

Naomi Alderman. Penguin Books. (352p) ISBN 9780670919963

The Power

The Power

Naomi Alderman’s novel ‘The Power’ is a well-deserved winner of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017. Naomi takes the idea of a change to which gender holds the reins of power and moves it along logical lines to a logical outcome, the end of the book gives this logical progression a wonderful twist.

One day young women wake a power which has been developing in them over a number of years which gives them the ability to channel electricity through them, storing it in an organ called a ‘skein’.

As this develops through the world, women start to control various power centres and men fight back at the gender inequalities raised by the change in their societal position.

One of the funniest, but most poignant changes is the change in gender positions of the newscasters throughout the book.

Written in an episodic fashion reminiscent of ‘World War Z’, the story develops at a cracking pace, in a horrifying but true way which I won’t spoil, but when the only model of holding power is that which has been developed in our patriarchal, capitalist society, the story’s outcomes ring sadly true.

A wonderful novel which should be read by men as well as women as a pointer to what is wrong in our current society, and as a well-written piece of speculative fiction.


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Scythe

Neal Schusterman. Walker Books. (448p) ISBN 9781406379242
Scythe

Scythe

Scythe is set not far into our(?) future where death has been conquered. Want to look and feel 21? Get your body clock set so you are physically younger than your grandchildren.

Science and society have progressed to such a stage that there are no famines or diseases, massive injuries can be healed, small injuries and pain are monitored by nanites and repaired or dulled.

There is one problem, population growth. With a finite space, it was decided that technology shouldn’t be the arbiter of death but people should have that responsibility and burden.

This is a well-crafted utopia with a deep twist, Neal Shusterman explores the moral conundrums that develop when people are given the ultimate responsibility, and what depths or heights the human can achieve under those pressures.

The main characters are so believable, the moral turpitude of some of them shows what could happen if this was real.

Thunderhead has just been released and I had to get myself a copy before it hit the table in the shop this first book was so good.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

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