I enjoy a good science fiction book, and this one did not disappoint. How many of us watch people fixated on their cell phones, Ipads, or other digital devices? How many of us are one of these addicts? Author Earik Beann has taken this a step further in his world, where small implants behind the left ear allow people to experience anything they could ever imagine.
These Alternate Reality Chips are the ultimate addiction: some people spend twenty-three hours a day online, only stopping when their chip forcibly disconnects them twice a day so they can eat. Jimmy Mahoney’s wife is one of these. Once a vibrant, loving woman, her addiction to her ARC is slowly sucking the life out of her and she spends her days in bed, disconnected to the world around her. Many in her situation have died already, unwilling or unable to log off to take care of even their most basic needs, and Jimmy fears for her future. Jimmy, on the other hand, doesn’t have an ARC. He is one of the few incompatibles (without the device) because of a brain injury which occurred during his years playing football, rendering him unable to connect. He rides on a bus full of silent, ARC connected people to a meeting of similar incompatibles, just for company. To the people who are not connected, being without an ARC is worse than being blind and deaf, and they struggle to hang on to what’s left of a society they are no longer a part of.
There is no more hunger, no more crime in Jimmy’s world – it’s called the Golden Age of Humanity. But is it? A few of the incompatibles see the cracks, although they have no idea what to do about it. One day Jimmy meets Trixie, a newcomer to the meeting. She is actually a singularity (artificial intelligence) who can inhabit the bodies of different people (in sequence), and she introduces Jimmy to Adam, the singularity who runs the world and who thinks he is God. Adam has destroyed other singularities that have arisen from computer programs in different parts of the world, but it has been unable to eliminate the one inhabiting Trixie. Jimmy is chosen to be the conduit for the virus that will help Trixie destroy Adam, because Jimmy can transmit but Adam can’t get into Jimmy’s mind. So it’s the case of a good vs bad singularity.
Once Jimmy becomes acquainted with Adam, he is drawn into a life and death struggle – which he doesn’t completely understand at the outset – with the most powerful and omniscient computer-based brain on earth, a being that exists everywhere and that has limitless power.
I was completely drawn into this story, even though I had a few questions; but aren’t there always in science fiction? Based on many op-ed pieces I’ve read about the changes inevitable to the human race with the development of computers, the premise is all too realistic. Just consider the many uses to which Watson, IBM’s super computer, has been put – in medicine, agriculture, space travel and winning at Jeopardy. There is a lot of action in this story after the initial premise is laid out, a roller coaster ride that leaves the reader breathless and compels you to turn the page.
Beann’s writing is smooth and his characters are drawn well enough – they are definitely not cardboard cutouts. Crazy Beard, an odd ball man who lives under a tree and who is dragged along on the wild ride, may not have been essential to the story, but he is a calming diversion when the action becomes too frantic.
All in all, I strongly recommend this book for science fiction fans and I’m looking forward to his author’s next outing.
About the author (from Amazon):
Earik Beann is the author of Pointe Patrol, the story of how nine neighbors (and a dog) saved their neighborhood from the most destructive fire in California’s history. Previous to that, he wrote six technical books on esoteric subjects related to financial markets. He is a serial entrepreneur, and over the years he has been involved in many businesses, including software development, an online vitamin store, specialty pet products, a commodity pool, and a publishing house. His original love has always been writing, and Killing Adam is his first published novel. He lives in California with his wife Laura, their Doberman, and two Tennessee barn cats.
The author can be reached
On twitter: @EarikB
At his own website: https://earikbeann.com
And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/earik.beann