ESCAPOLOGY Shock to the sys­tem

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Ed­die Rob­son

re­leased out now! 368 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook Au­thor ren Warom Pub­lisher Ti­tan Books

For quite a while, the most note­able thing about Escapology is how it in­ter­sperses the stan­dard cy­ber­punk fea­tures – hack­ing, drugs, Ja­panese stuff, fu­tur­is­tic slang, or­di­nary nouns given Cap­i­tal Ini­tials – with the odd scene set on a “land-ship”. The rest of it fol­lows two par­tic­i­pants in the crim­i­nal un­der­world, Shock and Amiga, as they go about their grimy, dystopian busi­ness and com­plain about the food. Ini­tially it feels like it’s not adding up to much, though some of au­thor Ren Warom’s con­cepts are ter­rific (the hope­lessly in­fected vi­ral mar­ket­ing stooges are a stand-out).

It helps if you read it quickly. The de­tail is dense – al­most alien­at­ingly so – and it’s easy to lose your grip on who’s who and what var­i­ous things mean in this world. And al­though at first glance it seems to be pop­u­lated by the kind of psy­chopaths and cool, emo­tion­ally dis­tant lon­ers we’re used to see­ing in this type of fic­tion, Warom opens them up as the book goes on. After about a hun­dred pages, the plot co­heres and it be­comes clear where all this is go­ing – and from there on, its heist nar­ra­tive plays out in a sat­is­fy­ingly un­pre­dictable fash­ion.

Ren Warom’s favourite movie is Tremors: “I have watched it a bil­lion times and will watch it a bil­lion more!”

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