Into Neon: A Cyberpunk Saga
Into Neon is the first in the ThutoCo Cyberpunk Saga trilogy by author Matthew A. Goodwin, available on Amazon in paperback for $10 or on Kindle for less than $2.
Goodwin’s own moniker for his book, a Cyberpunk Saga, is a pretty good description of this book in and of itself. Into Neon feels like a perfect match for the genre that it markets itself in. With a simple, straightforward story filled with a giant evil corporation, a rag-tag team of dissenting punks trying to bring it down, neon lights and body augmentations, Into Neon fits right in.
Moss lives a fairly simple life in Burb 2152. He has a couple friends, works with his drudge — an automaton with advanced AI that can be controlled remotely while still have a programmable personality — and is happy living under the benevolent watch of ThutoCo. That is, until one day a stranger walks into his hex and changes his life forever. He learns that ThutoCo is not as it seems, and that his help is needed. What comes next is a tale of discovery, adventure, and courage. All with a shiny Neon sheen.
Moss has two friends who live in his burb, Gibbs, a colorful yet friendly character always lusting after women that pass by, and Issy, a flirty yet hard working police officer. Goodwin creates a fun interaction between these three friends. Next we have the crew outside the burb, with many characters including Ynna and Burn. Both competent, dedicated characters with very colorful descriptions, these characters I felt were well written as well.While Gibbs and Moss have a more youthful, naive air about them (since they both come from the pampered, isolated corporate burb) Burn and Ynna have a much harder, grittier edge to them. However, sometimes I felt like they missed a bit of depth, and couple have been fleshed out a little more. Which very well might be possible in the subsequent novels.
Into Neon’s story is incredibly straightforward, which is a huge contrast to novels from the likes of, say, William Gibson. It depends on your reading style, but for me personally this resulted in an easy, page-turning read that I quite enjoyed. With language or a plot that’s too complicated, or no clear goal in the story as is sometimes the case of other writers, Goodwin’s novel is like a breath of fresh, cyberpunk-processed air. No nonsense, just a simple, fun, straightforward Cyberpunk tale.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Goodwin kept a good pace in his novel, and both the action and emotion in the story were good, but again, nothing extraordinary here. Into Neon is a solid cyberpunk novel that checks all the boxes. Goodwin has crafted a fun new world with interesting new technology. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of transhumanism (body augmentations), the way people in this world are so readily willing to give up human limbs in favor of artificial ones, and the process of getting such an augmentation was one that felt real enough that I could see it happen in the non-too-distant future. This novel was a solid, fun cyberpunk novel, and although nothing in particular stands out it’s a great cyberpunk saga and an easy read, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to spend a fun neon-filled evening with an exciting page-turner. You can also check out more from Matthew Goodwin on his blog, ThutoWorld.com.