I was reading Stephen King’s excellent “On Writing” and he said that he reads about 70 fiction books a year. Which is a lot, but doable if you can dedicate your life and time to it. Which, due to his success, he can. And which, I would love to do. He also said that a decent size percentage of that was in audiobooks. I thought that I may be able to supplement my own reading by downloading audiobooks. I got the Amazon Audible app and to be fair, it is rather decent. The selection is pretty massive and for a monthly fee you get a free book a month. The first book I downloaded, for free, was “Glass House” by MJ Locke. It turns out that it is a Cyber Punk novel.
Now, not having ever read (or having one read to me) a Cyber Punk novel I wasn’t sure what to expect. First impressions were that it is pretty much similar to any other Sci Fi novel set in a dystopia. The difference is that the focus is on technology and it’s effect on the individual. Whereas, from what little I have seen and read of Sci-Fi it is technology and its effects on society on a whole. This maybe wrong but it is how it seems to me. The Cyber Punk also, according to the quick Wiki check I did, features “marginalised” characters who are low down in the social order. High tech and Low life, I suppose.
It doesn’t help that the story is rather poorly placed and is not really my cup o’ tea. The novel is about a Ruth, who works in Salvage using her Avatar, Golum, now I do not know whether this is a direct reference to the creature from Jewish myth but I would imagine that it is. During a salvage job in a collapsing building she tries to rescue an injured man. The man does not make it and she takes off his body some diamonds and an envelope. According to the blurb this causes her trouble. But due to the rather slow pacing this really hasn’t happened yet.
The technical detail given about the machines and surroundings is impressive and you get the sense that the author, who is also an engineer, knows his beans. There is not much back story given into why this particular future is a dystopia but that would fall in line with the focus on the individual and not the social aspect, which as mentioned above appears to be a feature of the genre.
I will finish this book as I do, oddly, want to find out what happens. And aside from the pacing it is well written, the characters are quite well drawn and their motives seem to be realistic enough for credulity. Whether or not I will read more Cyber Punk is pretty unlikely. Next audiobook is John Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy” which I am pretty excited about.