Archive for the ‘dystopian’ Category

San Francisco, 2017.

In an alternate time track, Hillary Clinton won the election and Donald Trump’s political ambitions were thwarted.

London, 22nd century. Decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80 per cent of humanity. A shadowy start-up hires a young woman named Verity to test a new product: a ‘cross-platform personal avatar’ that was developed by the military as a form of artificial intelligence.

Meanwhile, characters in the distant future are using technological time travel to interfere with the election unfolding in 2017. . .

Agency

William Gibson

Viking

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Stephen Litten

San Francisco, 2017: Clinton’s in the White House, Brexit never happened, and Verity Jones (the app whisperer) has got a new job. The pay means she could stop couch surfing at a friend’s apartment. But within seconds of opening the app, it has decided that Verity is in danger and takes steps to ensure her safety. Meanwhile, approximately 100 years in the future, Wilf Netherton has been drawn back into the orbit of London’s Police fixer Ainsley Lowbeer to assess the threat level of a new timeline stub. Will they need to shut it down? The very one initiated by Verity and her new app, Eunice.

This is a novel told in two timelines. The chapters alternate. Mercifully, the list of characters is quite small, with Verity and Will being the point of view characters. There is an intercept, and Gibson handles it well – time travel is not invoked. Verity and Eunice try to survive the attempts to wrest control of Eunice, who turns out to be a piece of repurposed military programming. Will and Ainsley, once they’ve assessed the potential of the new timeline, have a bigger question – Who benefits? London, and what survives of the United Kingdom, is run by the Klept, a shadowy group of oligarchs who stole power after a disaster.

0I enjoyed this read. I’ve been a fan of Gibson for quite a while and he has not disappointed. It is well paced, and the two strands, action thriller (sort of) and spy-fi (sort of), mix well. It is comfortably paced, with the action scenes not overly described. Gibson, despite a tendency toward hard SF, doesn’t wallow in techno-babble. My one complaint would be the length of some of the chapters. Some are barely two pages. But then again, chapters should be as long as they need to be and no longer.

Buy this book. It’s good. The stories are resolved well, and there are no glaring plot holes. I thank Penguin for the review copy.

London is a city on wheels – a future city like you’ve never known before. In the terrible aftermath of the Sixty Minute War, cities which survived the apocalypse became predators, chasing and feeding on smaller towns. Now London is hunting down its prey, getting ready to feed. But as the chase begins, Tom uncovers a secret – a secret full of deadly consequences. Soon he is plunged into a world of unkillable enemies, threatened by a weapon that will tear his life apart…

Mortal Engines: Mortal Engines Quartet #1

Phillip Reeve

Scholastic

Purchased at Scholastic Book Fair

Reviewed by Jacqui Smith

Everybody was saying how good it was, and Peter Jackson was going to make the movie, so I bought the book. And as I read it, my mind refused to relax and buy into the dystopian steampunk setting. I have no trouble as a rule – I like steampunk – but the central premise, the rolling cities, made the practical part of my brain that does physics and engineering hurt. I kept thinking that the only way to do this is with antigravity – and if you’ve got that, why not go full spindizzy and make those cities fly? Yes, it’s been done, and done better, many years before – try “A Life for the Stars” from Cities in Flight by James Blish. Oh, and where on Earth did all the water go? Yes, a dried-up (or washed-out) planet is a dystopian staple, but seriously?

Admittedly, I can see why people like the characters and it’s not really a bad story, but I really can’t bring myself to pick up the next book in the series, even though I already bought a copy.

 

 

For over fifty years, no girls have been born – only boys.

The youngest and last generation of women alive are now in their fifties. Not only are their looks fading, but these greying women are humanity’s only hope for survival.

Until there is sudden hope: a girl is born. And in that moment, she instantly becomes the most important person in history.

She is their saviour.

Her name is Eve.


Penguin

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Piper Mejia

Ahh young love, what could be more beautiful or exciting … only freedom.  In Giovanna and Tom Fletcher’s first foray into co-writing for a YA (young adult) audience, Eve of Man explores the idea of ‘what if you were the last woman on earth’. This novel could have been an opportunity to explore ideas of equal rights or gender roles in society, but instead the Fletcher’s focus their narrative on the power of lies. An event that so recently has victimised our own political world.

Eve, the main character, has spent her life protected in a gilded cage at the top of the tallest tower, not totally unaware of the lies that have entrapped her.  It is only with age that experience teaches Eve to take every opportunity to find the truth in her world, no matter the risk. But she is not as alone in her risk taking as she thinks.

With reminisces of Rapunzel meets The Handmaid’s Tale, this novel is the beginning of an epic journey to save the humanity from extinction. It is clear that the authors are appealing to their audience through a ‘boy rescues girl’ trope, with an illusion that Eve is the one in control of her own fate, however, there is nothing wrong with having hope that the future will be better for all of us.