Cyberpunk Book Review: Sleep State Interrupt

Cyberpunk Book Review: Sleep State Interrupt (BetterWorld trilogy #1)

Sleep State Interrupt is book one of the BetterWorld Trilogy by T.C. Weber, which is available on Amazon now as part of the three-book set called The War for Reality. It follows a motley Cyberpunk crew of characters set in a more near-future but focuses on Waylee, an ambitious but downtrodden, recently unemployed, Baltimore journalist who wants to bring down the oppressive corporations around her to help change the world for the better. To do so, however, she will have to enlist the help of Charles, an amateur teenage hacker who just recently wound up in juvenile detention.

Less High-tech, more Low-Life Hacking & Journalistic Espionage

BetterWorld is an advanced version of our present-day Metaverse. It’s a place where people shop, make friends, play games, and interact in a virtual world, a bit like Ready Player One. And just like Ready Player One, there’s high-tech and low-tech immersion gear, depending on how wealthy the user is. But unlike Ready Player One, a lot of the action in this novel takes place in the real world, while only a small number of things happens in the BetterWorld virtual universe. I like reading a variety of near-future and distant-future cyberpunk tales, so this was a nice variation for me. In this sense Sleep State Interrupt felt a lot closer to our current world, and a lot less high-tech as the technology described doesn’t feel so far-fetched at all. There are data glasses that record (much like Google Glass was supposed to be) but other than that, very little cyborgs or advanced tech you might find in similar Cyberpunk stories like Ghost in the Shell. And so far, no androids to speak of (we’ll see if any pop up in books 2 or 3 of the trilogy).

But where the novel lacked in high-tech, it made up for in low-life punk hacking. The novel is filled with hacking jargon and events, which makes sense considering the plot surrounds the team breaking a hacker out of juvie to help them with the greatest hack of all time to expose the malicious plans that the mega-corporations have. Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks, server rooms, malware and viruses, clone and shadow programs running routines and subroutines within the BetterWorld network…it was great reading a hack-focused cyberpunk novel with language I could actually understand. For those that aren’t familiar with the lingo, the novel does a great job explaining the terms as the lead hackers explain what they’re doing to the other non-hackers of the group.

A Fun, Varied Cast

Unlike other Cyberpunk novels that tend to focus on just a couple main characters (such as Neuromancer, Ready Player One, Snowcrash, etc.) Sleep State Interrupt has a very fun, believable, and varied cast. And although I pictured them differently in my head, Ted Weber actually commissioned an artist to create digital renderings of what they look like, so take a look for yourself.

 

The cast in order clockwise are Waylee, Pelopidas, Shakti, Dingo, M’Patanashi, Kiyoko, and Charles. Each one has their own motivations, eccentricities, strengths and weaknesses. The novel’s chapters are often labeled with one of these seven characters, which gives the reader a chance to understand which point of view they are reading from, but also to follow different characters to understand them. While other writers might struggle with this writing style, Weber is able to make this work, as a lot of the story unfolds with the members above all living and working together at the time. So the change in perspective or storyline isn’t confusing, and the reader is able to follow along and also understand the thoughts or emotions of each character, without the story feeling too explanatory or confusing.

A Strong Sense of Paranoia and Suspense

While there is some action in this novel, the main overwhelming feeling in the story is a strong sense of paranoia and suspense. I’ve never felt quite as uneasy (in a good way) following the characters in a story as I have with Sleep State Interrupt. Ever since the team bust the hacker out of juvie (which happens at the beginning of the novel), from that point on the authorities are hot on their tail, and the reader really feels it. It makes one imagine what it must have felt like for the likes of Edward Snowden to be on the run from the government.

Author T.C. Weber

Final Verdict: 8.5/10

With a steady pacing, good writing, a varied cast and an interesting storyline, T.C. Weber’s Sleep State Interrupt is a Cyberpunk novel that you won’t want to miss. It’s a brilliant futuristic hacker story, and a fun thriller for those who enjoy that style. My only complaint might be it lacks a little imagination or depth of ideas, but that only applies if you like stories set in a distant future, so it’s not even something that I can really hold against the book, it just explains why I’m not giving the novel a perfect 10. I prefer more futuristic tech and brutal action (a la Altered Carbon), but that’s just a personal preference.

So make sure you don’t miss reading this fun hacker tale, and if you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought of the book in the comments below!

P.S. Many of the main characters are members of a band called Dwarf Eats Hippo. On Weber’s website you can find a fun interview of the band here.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

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Cyberpunk Review: Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 Review

The 2017 sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner that helped start the entire Cyberpunk genre, Blade Runner 2049 was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival) and features Ryan Gosling as the main character K, along with Harrison Ford reprising his role as Rick Deckard and also featuring Ana de Armas and Jared Leto. Let’s dive right into this Blade Runner 2049 Review.

A Compelling Tale

Blade Runner 2049 follows the tale of android “replicant” K, who works as a blade runner, a police officer who hunts down and “retires” older replicant models. After hunting down a replicant off world, he makes a discovery that leads him to investigate something that happened in the past. Solving his case could mark a monumental change in society forever. The film also acts as a sequel to the original Blade Runner, while still acting very much as a standalone film.

Blade Runner 2049 doesn’t explain much at all for the viewer other than the beginning introductory paragraph. Normally having a beginning text to get audiences up to speed is something I don’t appreciate in a film, but considering how confusing blade runner 2049 is, I understand. It helps to have watched the previous blade runner film, and to know how important the line is between replicants and humans. The original blade runner explored what happens when humans love replicants, and what it means to be human. This blade runner explores, perhaps, what it means to be a replicant, and if it isn’t possible to be both somehow.

This film also features the theme of memory a lot, with vibes that were very reminiscent to Total Recall by Philip K Dick, which I loved. This is fitting considering the original Blade Runner was also based on a PKD short story.

Breathtaking visuals and direction

Within this film, the Cyberpunk Aesthetic is front and center. It actually won two oscars for best cinematography by Roger Deakins and best visual effects, and with good reason! Very bleak colors and sweeping views of desolate lands greet the viewer in one of the first scenes. The grey colors set the tone for the beginning of the movie. We later see the classic standard set by its predecessor with city rain, at nighttime, and windows or puddles from the rain reflecting a myriad different hologram advertisements along the buildings. Rain, lights, flying cars, and reflections: this is the true original cyberpunk aesthetic. The blade runner cars are truly beautiful. Dark lighting and steam seems to be a Cyberpunk staple. Even Gosling’s gait is down perfectly as the investigator.

A lot of Japanese kanji can be found on products in the movie (like in the food court area). The movie even has a machine that provides search results in Japanese. There are a couple scenes with Hangul too, suggesting a truly translingual future.

This film, released in 2017, would also be eerily prescient to what would come to happen in 2020, when giant wildfires set the night sky ablaze in dystopian orange. Many were quick to point out the visual parallels with Blade Runner 2049. In the film, however, the air was tainted due to radiation, not fires blazing.

A Similar Soundtrack, Yet Different for the Better

The original Blade Runner became famous for its haunting soundtrack by Vangelis. This time around the composer is Hans Zimmer, and while similar to his predecessor, I actually think he improved upon it. You may have heard Hans Zimmer’s work before in films like Inception, Interstellar, or Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The music is haunting but simple. They were lucky to have him at the helm this time. He never seems to disappoint.

Excellent Dialogue

The dialogue is also something that I found exceptional in this film. Gosling, De Armas, Leto, all of them deliver their lines in a slow, precise way, just amazing delivery.

“‘Mere data makes a man. A and C and T and G. The alphabet of you, all from four symbols. I’m only two. One and Zero.’

‘Half as much, but twice as elegant, sweetheart.'”–Joi and K

“It’s better than nice. It feels authentic. And if you have authentic memories, you have real human responses.”–The memory maker

My One Complaint: A Long Film With Slow Pacing

So this might not be a negative point for many who like slower-paced films, indeed in our day and age so many of our films are so fast-paced that it’s nice to see a film that takes its time. Still, I did find myself at certain points waiting for K or whichever character was on screen to do something, or say something. This film communicates a lot with facial expressions (or lack of expressions) of its actors, who do an excellent job. But for those who are more used to a faster pacing or more excitement, they may be left feeling a little bored or restless at times, as I was. But these moments were on the whole few and far between.

In some ways Blade Runner should be considered a work of art. Something you take your time considering, appreciating. This is no high-speed thrill-ride like some of the other Cyberpunk media (total recall, the matrix, upgrade). And I dare say if you re-watch it a couple times, it’ll grow on you if it didn’t at first.

Final Verdict: 9/10

Blade Runner 2049 is a Cyberpunk Masterpiece. A deep and complex plot, breathtaking visuals, and an excellent soundtrack truly combine to create a world that lives and breathes the Cyberpunk aesthetic and story filled with mystery and suspense. The questions the movie ask are subtle, allowing the audience to go as deep as they want to, and multiple viewings are recommended. Although the pace may feel a bit slow at times, this Cyberpunk classic is one not to miss, and should really be seen on the silver screen if possible.

I can’t wait to see Ridley Scott’s take on his original classic with the new blade runner series that’s planned to come out. Although to follow on the trend of sequels, considering Cowboy Bebop and Matrix Resurrections, I’m guessing many may not like it as much as the original, especially considering the high bar he set.

I saw this film for the first time alone in the movie theater, and I’m so glad I did. Experiencing this film alone in a movie theater, felt like I was witnessing greatness without fully understanding why or how.

What did you think of this movie? Did you see it in the theater, or at home? Did you instantly like it, or did it grow on you? Let me know in the comments below.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

Top 10 Cyberpunk movies you should watch in 2022

Top 10 Cyberpunk Movies You Should Watch in 2022

Every day our world feels more Cyberpunk, with news about the Metaverse from what was previously known as Facebook, self-driving Tesla trucks, drones becoming an everyday household gadget, and Boston Dynamics robots preparing to take over the world.

It’s difficult to make sense of it all, but fortunately, with Cyberpunk media we can have a little help in that regard. You could of course go back to the classics, or watch your cyberpunk content religiously according to our recommended 3 eras of Cyberpunk in our beginner’s guide. But if you want to watch the best modern Cyberpunk movies, to help you make sense of what a metaverse would really look like (or shouldn’t look like), I’ve created a list of the Top 10 Cyberpunk Movies You Should Watch in 2022. This list goes in ascending order of importance, if you haven’t seen one of these movies yet, then maybe you should! So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

10. Elysium

Elysium is the tale of a utopian society living on a ring orbiting earth, featuring Matt Damon as a lowly assembly line worker whose life is upended when he gets exposed to a lethal dose of radiation. This sets into motion a plot to overthrow the current state of power involving gangs, body augmentations, advanced medical bays, and much more. It’s a classic Cyberpunk tale that is woefully underappreciated, without much cultural impact but an excellent movie nonetheless, and thus merits being in our modern top 10.

9. Tron: Legacy (2010)

A sequel to the original Tron which was a groundbreaking film in its time but now would seem rather dated in comparison to today’s graphics, Tron: Legacy does an excellent job upgrading the story to today’s visual effects potential, while also continuing the Tron story. While the story isn’t anything groundbreaking and isn’t your average megacorporation tale (almost the entire film is set in virtual reality), what you really should see this movie for is its breathtaking visuals and music soundtrack. Directed by Joseph Kosinski, who did the equally visually stunning Sci-Fi flick Oblivion, Tron: Legacy would inspire a visual style for years to come, with its minimalist yet modern black and whites lined with neon blues and oranges, especially with the costume design which are incredible. I mean, just take a look at these images. Each one could be a poster in its own right.

As for the soundtrack, it was composed by none other than the authentically classic cyberpunk electro-duo Daft Punk, one of their last albums before they sadly disbanded in 2021. They even have a cameo in the film as themselves DJ-ing in a club scene.

8. Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall (2012) is a modernized remake of the classic Paul Verhoeven cyberpunk film with Arnold Schwarzenegger from 1990. Based on Philip K Dick’s short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, this modernization is directed by Len Wiseman and features Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston. Although it failed to replicate the success of its predecessors and has in my opinion a bloated ending, it has beautiful visuals, a fast pace and some excellent action scenes. It also modernizes the classic story and gives us some ideas of what new tech in a modernized urban city might look like, such as hologram hand-phones and personal cars on rails.

7. Robocop (2014)

Another modernized remake of yet another classic Paul Verhoeven cyberpunk film from 1987, this version is directed by Jose Padilha with Joel Kinnaman (Altered Carbon) as the title character, with supporting actors Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L Jackson. Yet another remake that couldn’t replicate its original success, this film once again modernized the tale with a particular focus on the police force aspect and what future body augmentations and cyborg-ization could look like. It’s also a fun tale with great action scenes, although the plot may seem a little simple at times.

6. Alita: Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel is the live action remake of the 1993 Anime film, which was based on the manga Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm) from Yukito Kishiro. Directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, From Dusk Til Dawn) it stars Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, and Rosa Salazar as Alita. While the movie may not have as much immediate significance or warning for our modern-day society, the visuals, special effects, and brilliance of this imagined world are what makes this film great. They pack so many little fascinating things in the streets of Iron City.

Almost every single person is sporting a body augmentation of some sort: metal arm, metal leg, metal eye, everything with its own uses and often looking cobbled together–which it probably was. Iron City is where the poor live, underneath a floating rich city called Zalem. But unlike many of the typical Cyberpunk world set in constant rain with neon lights, many of the scenes in Iron City feature bright, harsh light, in addition to scenes set at night. The story follows cybernetic engineer Dr. Dyson Ido who finds Alita’s head (as a disembodied cyborg with an intact human brain) in a scrap heap, and is able to put her back together again, of sorts. With no memory of who she is, she tries to learn about her past as she also discovers a love for the brutal sport of Rollerball. Alita: Battle Angel is fast-paced, touching action story that is definitely a Cyberpunk must-see.

5. Upgrade (2018)

Upgrade is in the top 5 must-see Cyberpunk films of this top-10 list because of how close the technology is to what we have in present day, how recently it was done, how incredibly Cyberpunk it was and how fun and cool it was. It’s also probably flown under the radar for most, I mean it wasn’t a culture-shifting megahit, it was just a great sci-fi film. Directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Logan Marshall-Green (who looks like Tom Hardy but isn’t), Logan stars as Grey Trace, a technophobic auto mechanic who has a horrible accident which leaves him paralyzed. Set in a distant but not too distant future where society has self-driving cars (like Teslas, only cooler) and drones (again, like what we have, only cooler), the film does a good job showing what a future society might be like with technophobic people resisting the tech industry’s endless product delivery system.

It also has some casual super-cyberpunk scenes, like this one where people are lost in a VR world, disconnected from the real world, except they’re just there in the background and not at all important to the main story (Metaverse, Ready Player One anyone?). The other reason why I love this film so much is because the viewers can really relate to the main character. Logan Marshall-Green gives an amazing performance, especially when the chip he’s implanted with to help him regain mobility starts taking control of his body to give him action moves he wouldn’t normally otherwise have. The director then combines this insane situation with camera-twisting scenes and you have beautiful, incredibly novel action sequences that would give even the original Matrix a run for its money in terms of originality. Don’t believe me? Just watch the trailer.

Oh and keep an eye out for the henchman with a handgun. No, not that handgun. An actual gun. In his hand. If that’s not cyberpunk, nothing is.

4. Ghost in the Shell (2017)

No top 5 cyberpunk list would be complete without a Ghost in the Shell film, and if you’re talking modern films, then you have to include this 2017 live action adaptation of the classic. Starring Scarlett Johannsen of all people to play the role of the Major (her casting was somewhat controversial) as the cyborg investigative super soldier who investigates her past while trying to find the line between human and android. This film was directed by Rupert Sanders and mostly follows what happens in the original anime film, with some small differences. It has a great visual style and cinematography, and some great action scenes and special effects, but drew some criticism for not having a deeper story or character development. If you think of Cyberpunk, however, chances are the first thing that’ll come to mind is Ghost in the Shell or Blade Runner. Speaking of which…

3. Blade Runner 2049

Most people who know anything about Cyberpunk would say the genre all started from the combination of one book and one movie. That book was William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the movie was Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. So it should come as no surprise that Blade Runner 2049 came in at the top 5, with spot #3. This movie has some of the most iconic, breathtaking visuals directed this time around by Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival). Harrison Ford came back to reprise his iconic role of Rick Deckard, but the main character for this sequel is K, a replicant Blade Runner played by Ryan Gosling who has to uncover a mysterious secret that may threaten all civilization. This movie, along with most of Villeneuve’s films, is really one to see in the theaters. One of my favorite Cyberpunk visuals of all time is also in this film, where K is talking to a hologram AI companion, Joi (played by Ana de Armas). The pacing is a slow burn and the movie is a little long, but for those who liked the original Blade Runner and loves a good sci-fi mystery thriller, this is definitely a cyberpunk film you should watch for 2022.

2. Ready Player One

Some might be surprised that Ready Player One merited second place in this top 10 list of Cyberpunk films you should watch in 2022. Indeed, it might have been relegated to spot 5 or 6, if it weren’t for what happened on October 28th, 2021. Because on that day, Mark Zuckerberg announced his plans for the Metaverse (which was originally coined as a virtual reality world by Neal Stephenson in his Cyberpunk novel Snowcrash) and for Facebook to be rebranded as Meta.

What this meant was that Facebook then started firing and changing job descriptions, as thousands of their employees had to adapt to the change to start working towards Zuckerberg’s fantasy to become a reality. It wasn’t long before other businesses started to follow suit, wanting to be the early movers in investing in this new technology and the VR real estate that would exist in the metaverse. Governments around the world will have to decide how to regulate this new Metaverse, which (hopefully) means that they need to understand it. So how can they, and the general public, make sense of this VR world? Well, Ready Player One paints a pretty darn realistic picture of what it might look like, which is why it’s so high up on this list.

Remember, when you were in VR during the COVID lockdowns, Wade Watts did it first.

Ready Player One is the live action adaptation of the novel of the same name by Ernest Cline. While both the movie and the book are definitely Cyberpunk, it’s more a fan love letter to video games and pop culture from the 1970s and 1980s. Directed by Steven Spielberg, if you can believe it, the story follows Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) who lives in a stack of motor homes in Ohio in a world where the majority of the population live their lives in a virtual reality called the Oasis.

The Oasis (Ready Player One)

Not only do people play games and socialize here, but they also go to school and shop here as well. When the creator of the Oasis dies, he begins a massive easter egg hunt in the Oasis with his will, declaring that whomever finds this hidden easter egg will gain the majority of shares and a huge amount of money. It’s a race against time as Wade teams up with four others against an evil corporation who wants the Oasis for themselves.

1. The Matrix Resurrections (and the Matrix Trilogy)

The Matrix trilogy was, in my opinion, some of the best cyberpunk content ever made. So it should be no surprise that the fourth installment made first place in this modern Cyberpunk list. While Matrix Resurrections is admittedly less of a “stereotypical cyberpunk” like total recall or blade runner, it brought modern issues and ideas, while also providing us with relevant questions for our modern day society. It also was incredibly controversial and divisive, with some people loving it, some people hating it, and very few in between.

Despite the fact that it’s objectively not perfect, everyone started talking about the return of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss to the franchise, and therefore it’s a must-see for any modern cyberpunk list. Having come out in December 2021, it’s also quite literally the latest Cyberpunk film to come out in theaters around the world.

Matrix Resurrections is the tale of Neo, AKA Thomas Anderson, who finds himself somehow alive but without memories of his previous life. Meanwhile, a team of humans in the real world discover Neo in the matrix after decades of fruitless searching, and attempt once again to bring him out of the matrix into the real world again. This leads to a perilous journey between neo, the humans, and the machines as a mysterious evil entity in the matrix tries to stop him from finding Trinity, and from leaving altogether.

Matrix Resurrections is also an incredibly meta movie, which is constantly referencing things that happened in the previous trilogy, as well as the trilogy itself (which in Matrix Resurrections is known as just a video game). As a result we can see scenes, toys, and even busts of characters from the previous trilogy in the movie itself. It results in a very funny, yet trippy, experience.

Top 10 Cyberpunk Movies You Should Watch in 2022:

  1.  The Matrix Resurrections
  2. Ready Player One
  3. Blade Runner 2049
  4. Ghost in the Shell (2017)
  5. Upgrade
  6. Alita: Battle Angel
  7. Robocop
  8. Total Recall
  9. Tron: Legacy
  10. Elysium

So that’s our top 10 list! What do you think of the list, and do you think there should be any movies included that we didn’t include, or any movies we included that shouldn’t have made the cut? Let us know in the comments below.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

The Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast | Ep 6: Reviewing Matrix Resurrections

Cyberpunk Matrix Podcast Ep 6: Matrix Resurrections Review

Welcome to the Cyberpunk Matrix podcast with your host and operator, Alex. Today on the show we have a complete newcomer to the Cyberpunk genre, Helena Woods, who also happens to be my wife. She is currently living abroad with me in France, where she is creating videos on YouTube about presence, joy, and culture. In addition to being a top-notch videographer, she is also a writer, photographer, artist, consultant, and content creator. For more from Helena Woods and all that she does, you can check out her website at www.helenawoods.com. You can also find her main YouTube channel here and her secondary channel here, as well as her Instagram @mshelenawoods.

Join us as we give a spoiler-filled in-depth review of The Matrix Resurrections

We discuss:

-themes in the Matrix, and Matrix Resurrections

-our favorite and less favorite actors from the movie

-acting, dialogue, and performances

-action sequences

-understanding the plot

-general newbie questions about the matrix

-musical scoring of the film

-social commentary the film makes on our society

-and much more.

The podcast is available below on YouTube, or you can listen to it on Anchor and Spotify.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

Cyberpunk Review: The New Prometheus (Andrew Dobell)

 

The New Prometheus: A fast-paced Cyberpunk thriller

The New Prometheus is the first novel of the 5-book series of the same name by Andrew Dobell, a Cyberpunk series starring Frankie, an unwilling cyborg who wakes up one day with a human brain and cyborg body after a ruthless attack. Thrust into a fight against the mega-corporations that control her world, she teams up with local detective Gibson to regain a semblance of normalcy and freedom from the corporations who will stop at nothing to regain their property.

Familiar Cyberpunk Influences

The influences for this author here aren’t subtle. Detective Gibson is clearly inspired by William Gibson, writer of Neuromancer, which helped start the Cyberpunk genre. The main character, Frankie, also seems to be almost a perfect copy of the Major from Ghost in the Shell. Both of which are excellent influences to have, so I don’t blame him.

Nonstop fast-paced action

The strength of Dobell’s novel, which isn’t his first but is the first of his cyberpunk and sci-fi novels, is definitely the way he writes his action and pacing. I loved reading his descriptions of the weapons, armor, cyber-hacking, and mechs, as well as how each one of these are used or destroyed as the story progresses. This novel was hard for me to put down, with a fun fast pace and non-stop action, his writing flowed easily and it was a very fun read.

Likeable, if simple, characters

Dobell writes Frankie and Gibson in a way that makes them easy to like, and quick for the reader to care about their safety, which is great. There were moments where I felt shocked when the main characters get hurt, or seem about to get hurt, which showed I really felt and sympathized for them.

But beyond that, I felt disappointed by the lack of complexity I saw in the characters. Dobell has a tendency to explain to the reader how his characters are feeling and thinking, instead of showing his readers and trusting them to figure it out on their own. This, along with dialogue from the characters that lacked too much distinction from each other, made the characters seem rather simple. I liked the nuance Dobell brought to Frankie’s character as she considered her torn feelings about being in her new cyborg body, but the motivations behind Gibson, the doctor, and other characters they run into along the way felt lacking. I felt this especially when Gibson decides to help Frankie–like there needed to be more behind why he decided to do what he did.

Interesting new High Tech

What I really liked about this story was Dobell’s depiction of nanobots and cyborg implants being a corporation’s property, extending the lives of its citizens but only as long as they kept the payments coming. Corporations demanding their bio-property back isn’t a new concept, but nanobots being accessed remotely or being hacked was a fun new concept for me to read, and a grim warning of what our future may one day look like. Which is exactly what Cyberpunk is supposed to be.

Final Verdict: 7/10

Andrew Dobell’s The New Prometheus is a by-the-numbers Cyberpunk thriller, a fun, fast paced ride, but with some forgettable characters and at times lacking depth. It’s a good start to a fun promising story, though, and I look forward to reading more from Andrew Dobell in the future. Perhaps in his later books he will flesh out an already promising plot, improving both the depth and quality of the story.

And as always, if you liked what you read and want to help the Cyberpunk Matrix going, you can show your support over on Ko-Fi. Help contribute to the costs of website upkeep, or simply buy me a simulatte. https://ko-fi.com/cyberpunkmatrix

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