Dreaming of Eden is a science fiction novel by James Lucien.
In the dystopian future of 2049, a ravaged world, divided into four Super States, is locked into a continuous war for diminishing resources. Under the oppression of a totalitarian government, an Elite DHS hacker, a robotics scientist, an NYPD detective, and an Air Force pilot, once childhood friends, must reunite to solve the mysterious disappearance of the one woman they all love.
Their search efforts are impeded by cyber-terrorists, Blackwater mercenaries, the Mara Salvatrucha Mafia, the CIA and so much more. Upon their fierce journey they uncover a secret plot that may lead to a planetary revolution or the very extinction of humankind.
The book hit's you right from the start with non-stop action for the whole first chapter (the first 10% of the novel), described as a very advanced video game we see fights with everything from zombies, werewolves through to seven headed dragons. The author has a very nice way of describing the scenes both descriptive and imaginative, it does almost feel like you are right there in the middle of a game world. It's an explosive start and pretty relentless, little space given to introspection, characterisation or world building.
After this rampageous start we get a bit of an introduction into the plot, and main characters. Jonas is the leader of an ultra secret squad of operatives who's job is to protect the integrity of the internet and capture any hackers which include the new form of terrorists. These guys are so secret that even the CIA and FBI don't know of their existence.
It transpires that a World War 3 event has caused a ravaged Earth with most people living in megapolis underground while the war still rages on above. Many technologies are still in place though, it's not like the road where people are too busy eating each other to have things like electricity and running water. Most people have chip implants, genetic modifications and are wired up to the 2049 version of the internet, which is where the first chapter took place. These underground cities are strictly controlled by utilitarian governments that limit all personal freedoms, you even have to earn the right to have a child and conscription is mandatory. This dystopian vision is very well detailed, there are however many adult scenes and it isn't recommended for the younger reader.
As this future internet is wired directly into the old noggin there has to be safety programs in place, otherwise if you died in the virtual world you would die in the real world too. These safety systems are known as Alpha Protocols. There are also still hackers, and as people themselves are submerged into the net, hacking takes on a whole new level, hacking is the new form of terrorism.
There's a very nice nod to current technology in development, like wireless electricity, in this novel it's used extensively so no wires are needed for power. Other technology is way ahead of our current thinking, but it's all clearly, albeit minimally explained (although I must admit I don't like the idea of Windows Explorer still being around then).
The characters are depicted clearly, if a little gung-ho action hero style and the writing is very much in the masculine form, it's markedly written from a male perspective. This is the novels only real let down, the writing is of very high quality, the story has plenty of twists and turns while the fight scenes are very well played out.
Dreaming of Eden is a high octane and striking vision of a post-apocalyptic future, recommended.
Written on Tuesday 1st February 2011 by Antony.
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