Cyberpunk review: Project Maldon and Virtual Light

My ransacking of the Westmount library sci-fi section continues with 2 cyberpunk novels.

The first was Project Maldon by author Chris Atack. The plot focuses on a guy who suspects the AI he's working for has gone outside of her expected behaviour and become rogue. This is an interesting subject, but I was disappointed with how the book dealt with it. The build-up to the suspicion is non-existant really. He starts out believing it from very near the start and this continues until it's resolved at the very end. The story also deals with the project (Maldon) that the guy's working on, which is to help rebuild Upper Canada (Ontario) after it has been shattered by a global economic collapse and war with Quebec. The book succeeds in creating an interesting future society in which to set itself, and I got fully absorbed into Atack's Post Millennium culture. Even more so since a large portion is based in Toronto where I grew up. All in all it delivers a mixed bag: an interesting read, but not excellent. (The internet actually seems to have the first three chapters available free if you want them.)

The second book I read was Virtual Light by William Gibson, often called the founding father of cyberpunk. I'm a fan of Gibson's style, having read Neuromancer and Count Zero in the past and enjoyed both. This book was no different. The tale starts out as a series of disjointed vignettes jumping between characters as the surrounding society is fleshed out. Eventually they meet up and a story comes out. It's pretty simple when it comes down to it: a pair of glasses get stolen and the owners are trying to get them back. The book shines by focusing more on the society (set in SoCal and NoCal - what used to be California) and how people fit into the culture. The plotline is mostly a vehicle to show off the settings.

If you're a fan of Gibson's work then you'll probably like Virtual Light. If you're never read anything of his then I urge you to do so immediately. It's probably best to start out with his first (and most famous) book Neuromancer and take it from there. If anyone in Montreal has Mona Lisa Overdrive or any other Gibson books that I haven't mentioned I'd like to borrow them. Reading this one has merely whet my appetite for more.

Posted by dustin on June 23, 2005 with category tags of

1 comment
I found both Mona Lisa Overdrive (as well as neuromancer and count zero) at the McGill library last winter, I also have a copy of Idoru which I would recomend. I didn't realize that the books were a series are read MLO before Count Zero, so I was a tad confused, but it all worked out in the end.
   comment by KingCasey on June 23, 2005


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