By Ron Walters
- Deep Dive
Author: Ron Walters
Publisher: Angry Robot
- ISBN: 9780857669261
- Published: January 2022
- Pages: 259
- Format reviewed: Paperback
- Review date: 21/01/2022
- Language: English
If you had the chance to start over again from an early age and know what you do now, would you take it? A chance to live your life again; buy those shares in Apple, know some of the exam questions and football results? The answer for me is no. 80 years more life is not worth risking my family. What is you do not meet your partner again. What is you do not have the same kids. The idea of my children not existing is as horrific to me as it is for Peter Banuk in Ron Walters’ gripping Deep Dive. Can be get back to his family?
Peter Banuk is a computer game designer who works too hard and does not spend enough time with his family. He loves them, but cannot see his latest game fail, or they will all be in financial trouble. When he is offered a glimpse into the future of gaming, he takes it in the form of the immersive Deep Dive. Once inside Peter feels like he is within one of his games, but when he leaves, his world is not the same. His wife still exists, but the children have never been born. What can Peter do to get back to them?
It helps when a book speaks directly to you and Deep Dive will speak to me louder than most. A father of two girls who works on computers. Is that Peter or me? I have the added advantage of knowing what it is to love two young children and I can easily imagine that I would go as far as Peter does to get them back. Deep Dive may feel like science fiction on the outside, but there is nothing more horror filled for a family-oriented person, than the thought of losing your children.
Walters does a superb job of painting the Banuk family. They are not perfect but have all the issues that make them feel real. The fact that Peter knows he is not the perfect Father makes the story even more poignant later, when he thinks they may be gone. His motivation is one of desperation and that informs his actions. A lot of what happens in the book is not rational, but that is what leads to the twists and the action.
As a character study, Deep Dive is excellent, but it also has a great genre premise. There is a reason that Peter enters virtual reality but exits into another reality. Peter does not know what is going on and we the reader must discover alongside him. Peter’s early actions of firing off emails asking for help only becomes a problem when we discover the shadowy elements in the book. A fish out of water story soon evolves into an action thriller.
Too often in genre fiction explanations as to why things happen hang in the air, but there is a nice explanation towards the end of the book. One twist left me wondering exactly what type of man Peter is and revaluate what went before. Is he to blame for his own situation?
Deep Dive works as a thriller because the heart of the book runs so true. This is the case for me, but any reader with a sense of compassion. You can understand some of the desperate actions that Peter undertakes, you may do something similar yourself if you found an obstacle in the way of getting to your family. The book also works as a great piece of science fiction. It has a short length that make it punchy and thrilling, with the added impact of a family in peril.
Written on 21st January 2022 by Sam Tyler .