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CyberSearch Update

emoticon:torch To go along with the Wired for Chaos review, I've updated CyberSearch the Cyberpunk search engine.

It returns results from over six-hundred domains, and I've weeded out a few of the less relevant ones. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-11-29 11:54:59 | |
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Wired for Chaos

emoticon:cyberpunk I've been reading some good books recently. I'll probably tell you about them over the next few weeks. This first one gets a longer review, as the author/publishers were kind enough to send me a review copy.

Wired for Chaos is the first novel of Brett Renwick, and an exciting new entry in the Cyberpunk underground.

It's a dark romp through street level reality, and virtual reality, in a future America. It is unusual in several ways, some good, some not so good, and some you'll have to make your own mind up about. Razz

The first thing that really struck me was unfortunate. Especially unfortunate, because I've just read Eats, Shoots and Leaves - which has made me particularly self-righteous about copy errors.

Line four of the first page of my review copy declares (of the freshly deceased hero, Brice Johnson) - "his conciseness floats above his body". On the very next page, we are told of a "viscous paedophile". I agonised for a while as to whether these were trendy literary tricks that I didn't understand, or spell-checker induced mistakes. I strongly suspect the latter. Several small but glaring errors like these interrupted my reading enjoyment, as well as causing me much puzzlement. Obviously this doesn't say anything about the quality of the writing, but the editing left something to be desired.

Perhaps (I hope) my review copy was not the final draft. If this is the case then I'm deeply sorry for mentioning them. If they're still in the book - I'm totally baffled. Confused

Wired for Chaos is not a typical Cyberpunk novel; and not just because it starts with the death of the hero. One of the themes associated with the Cyberpunk genre, is the pitting of the individual against the mega-corporations. In this book Brice Johnson is an anti-hero, and virtually a mega-corporation of his own. He is mind bogglingly wealthy, self-centred, and a bully. The text acknowledges this, and it's only grudgingly that we can identify with Brice as his position becomes ever more deeply embedded in the mire.

That's not necessarily a criticism. I think Brett Renwick has deliberately put the reader in a difficult situation. You have to choose whether or not to empathise with Brice, as more of his character and personality is revealed. The surprise (or not) ending further turns normal Cyberpunk fare on it's head. It's an unusual choice, and you'll have to decide yourself how well it works.

One way in which Wired for Chaos sits squarely in the Cyberpunk tradition, is the depiction of a brutal - street level - future society. The normal boundaries of community have gone, and the rich live isolated from the subsistence experiences of the poor. It's hard to draw too many conclusions about Brett Renwick's prophetic vision of the future, from the narrow slice Wired for Chaos shows us - but the rich-poor divide is highlighted. This is never truer than during the sim-stim (?) torture scene. This is several miles past my boundaries of comfortable reading, but judging by the other books on the lists of Creation Books, it may be mild. Surprised

The most striking thing about the book, which is undoubtedly it's greatest strength, is it's energy and momentum. There are times when it picks you up and runs, with the events and characters flashing past in a whirl of colours. At certain points it reminds me of the wild jazz scenes of On the Road, by Jack Kerouac. This is a Cyberpunk reading experience, best accompanied with background techno music and a strong stomach !

So despite the quirks and kinks, Wired for Chaos is a dynamic and intriguing book. I'm sure Brett wouldn't promise us a sequel, but I will be hanging around to see what he does next.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-11-29 11:15:25 | |


The Old Blog Archives

There was so much ancient wisdom distilled into my old blog, that I couldn't let it just creep ignominiously into the pages of cyber-history. More to the point I'm still getting some hits from google with the old entries. Here are the archives of my previous Blogger based blog.

The Old Voidspace BlogThe Old Techie Blog

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