SFX - - Reviews - An­drew Os­mond

re­leased OUT NOW! 416 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook

Au­thor Matthew De Abaitua

Pub­lisher An­gry Ro­bot Books

The Destructives takes the reader on a jour­ney that’s epic and au­da­ciously un­pre­dictable, switch­ing from one chewy plot­line to the next. Then the au­thor ties them all to­gether with bows which he makes look mad­den­ingly easy.

Hu­man­ity’s been su­per­seded by sun- or­bit­ing AIs which have stolen our dreams of a fu­ture. Young Theodore, a man with dead­ened emo­tions, and an AI com­pan­ion in­ves­ti­gate a recre­ated house from the past. Here, a mi­nor- seem­ing in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a mum and daugh­ter on the net some­how changed his­tory... but could it do so again?

This is a mar­vel­lously writ­ten book, whose in­ven­tion and sur­prises gain mo­men­tum un­til its bog­gler of an end­ing. Sea­soned SF read­ers may com­plain that the “vir­tual house” in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the first act reads like trad cy­ber­punk; sim­i­larly, the book’s vi­sion of shop­ping malls as gi­ant asy­lums and shop­pers as ex­per­i­men­tal lab rats is hardly new. How­ever, th­ese ideas ( and many oth­ers) are pre­sented and in­te­grated with lov­ing craft. And while for a long time the char­ac­ters seem un­sym­pa­thetic, more back­sto­ries than per­son­al­i­ties, they’re tri­umphantly in­fused with life in the later stages. Great stuff.

The book shares the same uni­verse ( and a cou­ple of char­ac­ters) with De Abaitua’s The Red Men and If Then.

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