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re­leased OUt NOW! 400 pages | pa­per­back/ebook

Au­thor Fer­rett stein­metz Pub­lisher an­gry ro­bot

In this stand­alone by the au­thor of the ’Mancer tril­ogy, the dead rule the liv­ing. Gen­er­a­tions of dig­i­tally up­loaded de­ceased en­joy par­adise while keep­ing the liv­ing in a mis­er­able state. For the mor­tal masses, life is worth­less; they dream of sui­cide and cy­ber-im­mor­tal­ity.

Our liv­ing hero is Amichai, a prankster rebel in a New York or­phan­age, who’ll move (dig­i­tal) heaven for his hos­pi­talised sis­ter. A so­cial pariah, Amichai finds him­self on an un­der­cover mis­sion to a hid­den com­puter tower. What he finds will shake civil­i­sa­tion, liv­ing and dead...

The book mar­ries a bold premise to a highly en­ter­tain­ing ad­ven­ture, though the two sides don’t al­ways mesh. It de­picts a vivid al­ter­nate world where fleshy life is seen as a bur­den be­fore true ex­is­tence. As you might ex­pect, re­li­gion fig­ures heav­ily in the story, with Chris­tians as ter­ror­ists (or per­haps free­dom fighters). There are shades of The Hunger Games; a Max Head­room-style stut­ter­ing vir­tual char­ac­ter; a juicy, well-plot­ted love tri­an­gle; and loads of ac­tion that takes place in be­tween.

The down­sides are the book’s slow start; its ac­tion scenes, which can read like a pile-up of suc­ces­sive cli­maxes; and a few clunky devel­op­ments. The world is so fresh that it’s dis­ap­point­ing when the book goes for some very fa­mil­iar ac­tion-movie beats, but it’s still a brac­ing read. An­drew Os­mond

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