Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Accord

The Accord by Keithe Brooke

A deeply fractured science fiction story. Prominently features a story of transhumanism, uploading consciousness into a virtual environment. This process plays out against a backdrop of environmental trauma, anti-immigration xenophobia and cut-throat political intrigue, leading through the narrative to the end of conventional history and the transformation of society into a much wider environment where the whole basis of reality is different. Unfortunately that's not what this novel is about, all of the above exist merely as elements in a melodramatic love triangle. This juxtaposition makes for a dull layout on its own terms and renders the under-development of the main SF premise palpable, what's more it becomes progressively more frustrating as a genre reader to see the wild transformation not actually interfering with the course of adultery and homicidal marital jealousy all that much. It's a reinscribing of the banal, the conventional, the relationships linked to life as we know it now which undermines the science fiction future of the book.

There is a lot of fantastic potential in book, and some of it finds its way through: an intriguing bit of background detail, a strong confrontation between rival personalities, points when the politics shine through with a stronger than expected dilemma. On the whole, though, this book is fatally undermined by weakly defined characters that I didn't care about, and Brooke's sacrificing of the setting to his characters makes for a weak novel.

Similar to and better than: End of Days by Dennis Danvers

...yet worse than a book it's similar to which is: Disapora by Greg Egan

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