Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic
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Review: Technogenesis

Someone on LJ posted a comment on a friend of a friend's page, I followed it back to their LJ, and saw a short blurb recommending the author Syne Mitchell, especially her book Technogenesis. I wish I could remember who I gakked this from, because it's an excellent read, and what is even rarer than a good science fiction book these days, is a good hard science fiction book.

Mitchell gives us science and speculation from a number of fields, sometimes they are the foundation for her story, and somethings they are just mentioned in passing, set dressing.

The story centers on Jasmine "Jaz" Reese, daughter of an east Indian computer scientist and Irish father. She is a leading computer intuitive - a "natural" - in a world where almost everyone lives on the net. Connections can be through a simple (but limited bandwidth) bracelet, or other data jewelry, or in Jaz's case, through a military grade professional rig which is worn on the face like a mask. Her job is to mine data - she uses her rig to connect to the net and she uses her natural talent to find information on just about anything a research company's clients may want.

One day her rig breaks, and there is no replacement available. She is forced off the net, and discovers that without a net connection, life is tough. You can't get the bus to stop, or pay the fare, or open your apartment door because all of this is done through a net connection.

And people stare at you.

But the way they stare, one at a time, like she's being kept under surveillance, makes her wonder if the net might not be something more than just a way to connect. A hint from a couple of "feebs" - people whose brains won't allow them to connect to the net - gets her to suspecting that someone may be controlling their thoughts via the net.

And the book takes off from there.

I like her writing style, it's easy to read, she doesn't go off on tangents and it's easy to follow the plot. On the down side, she does telegraph the romantic plot line a bit too much, and it's not clear how Jaz really feels about relationships. When it comes to her main character, Mitchell "writes like a girl". As opposed to writing like a woman.

The book is set in the Seattle area, and makes good use of Mitchell's knowledge of the Cascades, where she lives in real life. Interesting bio can be found here.

I'll be looking for her other books, now.
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