We See ev­ery­thing

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 21 septem­ber 272 pages | Hard­back/ebook

Au­thor Wil­liam sut­cliffe Pub­lisher blooms­bury

One day there will doubt­less be a book hailed as “Nine­teen Eighty-Four for the drone gen­er­a­tion”. In the mean­time we have We See Ev­ery­thing, a kind of Young Adult begin­ner’s guide to dystopia. It’s a de­cent enough stop­gap – ex­cit­ing, pacy, with some clever ideas – but it’s hardly the most in­ci­sive cri­tique of surveillance cul­ture.

The book fea­tures par­al­lel plots, fo­cus­ing on two teenage boys – Lex and Alan – who never meet but whose lives im­pact fate­fully on each other. They both live in a rav­aged, post-war, fenced-off Lon­don, where the all-see­ing eyes of a swarm of drones en­able the vic­tors to keep the masses un­der the thumb. Lex is part of the re­sis­tance while Alan is a re­mote drone pi­lot.

Some of the par­al­lels be­tween them are a lit­tle laboured – they’re both called Al (kinda); they both find love at some point; they’re both gamers – but that high­lights the dif­fer­ences: one’s a git (guess who) and one isn’t. Both char­ac­ters are vividly drawn, with Alan be­ing a painfully truth­ful portrait of how teenage male para­noia can breed dan­ger­ous self-delu­sion.

The book leaves the best till last, though – if you can for­give a rather cheap lit­er­ary trick. The fi­nal cou­ple of chap­ters go off in a sur­pris­ing and thought-pro­vok­ing di­rec­tion, with an end­ing that’s tidy and messy at the same time. Dave Golder

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