Colin F. Barnes’ Artificial Evil, Book One of the Techxorist Series introduces readers to a familiar yet new experience in post-apocalyptic literature. The series is ongoing, the author’s website reveals book four as “in progress” (as of July 2014). Currently, the three part series includes a prequel to Artificial Evil. As a reader, I’ve decided to read through book three before enjoying the prequel. And by enjoy, I don’t speak presumptuously. Artificial Evil grabbed me in the first thirty pages, as any good novel should. I will save those thoughts for the critique.
>> Warning: This review may include spoilers. <<
Synopsis: Gerry is a computer programmer of the highest level. He designs code to protect the future-refugee city referred to as the Dome. After being selected by the D-Lottery for termination, a program he designed for The Family to equalize population levels for those living in the Dome, he is rejected and thrown outside the Dome instead of facing termination. He is found by two outsiders, Gabe (Gabriel) and Petal. Gabe is a techxorist, a gifted partial-human that is able to find and remove “artificial evil” programs that exist in the networks. Petal, his partner, is gifted as well. She is capable of trapping malicious content (malware) in her mind (think of wet-ware in William Gibson’s books). Gerry is forced, lack of options and a deep desire to reunite with his family, to accompany both Gabe and Petal and stop a new artificial evil that threatens what remains of the world. Mystery and confusion paints the world that Gerry encounters as he learns that he is humanity’s last hope in preventing the total annihilation, including humans, transhumans, androids, and a host of other “advanced droids” bent on survival.
Critique: Colin F. Barnes is fantastic! After the part one of Artificial Evil, I knew that William Gibson and pop-cyber works (the Matrix and eXistenZ) had influenced him greatly. In many ways, Barnes builds upon previous concepts and betters them! His writing of the program world, what many people would call a “virtual internet” is absolutely absorbing. I couldn’t help but think of Neuromancer and the film Johnny Mnemonic (screenplay by William Gibson). This stands along side those stories as a necessity for any true cyberpunk fan. And for those who have not yet ventured deep into the cyber world, Barnes offers an excellent series (potentially five books, maybe more) for them to get their feet wet.
Now on to Book Two!
Written on 16th July 2014 by D. L. Denham.
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