Implanted by Lauren C. Teffeau
Published by Angry Robot on August 7th 2018
Genres: science fiction
When college student Emery Driscoll is blackmailed into being a courier for a clandestine organization, she’s cut off from the neural implant community which binds the domed city of New Worth together. Her new masters exploit her rare condition which allows her to carry encoded data in her blood, and train her to transport secrets throughout the troubled city. New Worth is on the brink of Emergence – freedom from the dome – but not everyone wants to leave. Then a data drop goes bad, and Emery is caught between factions: those who want her blood, and those who just want her dead.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Pinky swear!
Implanted started off a little slow and weird. I was a tad confused by what was going on with Emery for the first chapter or so, although the backstory on what was going on did get explained later. You just get dropped into the story and it was a little jolting to begin with.
Once it picks up, it picks up. The plot is really interesting, if slightly predictable at times. I enjoyed the scienc-y/techie aspects a lot, I think they added an intriguing layer to the plot over all. The idea that you can have someone in your head all the time, whether that person is chosen or forced upon you, I thought was really cool. The technology and the environment – domed cities in a dystopian future because of course humanity has killed Mother Earth – speaks to a likely future, which I always find interesting to read about. It makes it more realistic, which can also make it a little more scary.
The side characters and relationships were also quite well done. Each relationship that Emery has is focused on in a different way, since she basically has to fake her death in order to become a courier and her new “friendships” aren’t exactly coming at a great time for her. Having to cut off her old friends and make new friends in a place she’s been blackmailed into becoming a part of was emotional to read about.
Her relationship with Rik didn’t exactly work out how I thought it would, which was good. I appreciated that it wasn’t completely straight-forward. Through their rollercoaster, I think we saw the most growth with Emery, even if some of the stuff she did regarding him annoyed me. Her lack of communication was somewhat warranted but it still got on my nerves. He was quite a softie and wasn’t at all what I was expecting when we were first introduced to him.
The best part for me was that Implanted read more like a movie than it did a book. I love books like that. I hope it gets optioned one day so I can see it on the big screen 🙂
A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
Published by Orion Books, Phoenix on 1977
Genres: fiction, science fiction
Substance D is not known as Death for nothing. It is the most toxic drug ever to find its way on to the streets of LA. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, causing, first, disorientation and then complete and irreversible brain damage.
The undercover narcotics agent who calls himself Bob Arctor is desperate to discover the ultimate source of supply. But to find any kind of lead he has to pose as a user and, inevitably, without realising what is happening, Arctor is soon as addicted as the junkies he works among...
This is the second Philip K. Dick book I’ve read and this one was only marginally less confusing than the first. But they’re confusing in a good way…I think. I like that you just get dropped into the story and there really isn’t much explanation of what’s going on unless it’s relates directly to what’s happening with the main character. I’m pretty sure this is the main reason I keep reading Dick’s work. I find it refreshing to not be told a bunch of information and to just hitch a ride with the MC instead. It’s great. I don’t feel like a lot of people do this these days. Or I haven’t read a lot that do.
The concept of A Scanner Darkly is both interesting and kind of sad. I wonder if it happens in real life. Not the science fiction-y parts, but the undercover narcotics agent getting addicts to the drugs he’s tracking portion. It was interesting to read from Arctor’s point of view since he doesn’t think he’s an addict. You’re getting a glimpse into an addicts mind. It becomes so easy to justify the drug use when you’re emotionally attached to the situation. It also makes me wonder how many drug addicts start out with the “It’s only a little bit” mentality and then suddenly are in too deep to escape. I love psychology, so just getting to read about Arctor and what’s happening, while understanding that he’s not a reliable narrator was great.
It was a bit hard to slog through the language, but I think that’s just a disconnect between when it was written and now. And also the fact that Dick just makes up some things that I then have to Google. Also it reads like it’s set in the 70s, not the 90s. It doesn’t detract too much from the novel, but it’s always something I’m aware of when reading.
Also, that ending. I felt so bad for Arctor and was not expecting it. Maybe I was expecting something along those lines, but definitely not that.
If the last to know he’s an addict is the addict, then maybe the last to know when a man means what he says is the man himself, he reflected.
A portion of him turns against him and acts like another person, defeating him from the inside. A man inside a man. Which is no man at all.
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Published by Penguin on September 6th 2001
Genres: science fiction
It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war, and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.
I’m not even really sure how to sum up my feelings about this book.
I sort of understood what was going on, but at the same time I had no idea. Normally this would make me dislike a book, but I think that was the point of The Man in the High Castle.
I love that there was really no hero, no big lead up to some final climax (not really), and no big love story. You’re legit just reading a book about what could have happened if the Allies had lost, and Germany and Japan had split up the States like a little cake. Or are you.
The choppy sentences were a bit hard to deal with sometimes, but I understood that Dick was trying to get across just how much Japanese influence there would be in America if they’d won.
I liked the idea of a book within a book as well. It tied all of the characters together in a more solid way, and it made it almost seem like there was an awakening happening. Like you knew people were reading this book and realizing how different the world could have been if the Allies had won. Which was kind of funny to read as someone from the universe where the Allies won.
It was slightly scary to read, but made me very grateful for what I have today because of the sacrifices that others made before me. The ending also sort of made me distrust my own universe, but I don’t want to get into it. The ending was the most confusing part.
Have you read Philip K Dick? This was my first foray into his work and I will definitely be reading more.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Published by Vintage Classics on January 1st 1970
Genres: science fiction
Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
Oh man. I don’t know, entirely, what I was expecting when I went into Slaughterhouse 5. I can’t quite tell you if I had any expectations whatsoever.
What I came out of with, though, was a great appreciation for Mr. Vonnegut. Man, can he write. I’ve never read something so pointless and so entertaining all at once.
But, I gather that’s the point.
I love that there is no backstory, no trying to explain events, no fluff. You’re simply reading about a man who comes unstuck in time. You don’t even question it, because…well, I’m not entirely sure why. Just because. Because that’s the way it was written and don’t try to go figuring it out. Just enjoy the ride while you’re on it.
It was a great departure for me. I tend to read a lot of fantasy, where half the book is spent explaining the who and the what of a scenario, so you can understand everything that is going on. Sometimes I don’t need to know all that. It just needs to be written in a way that allows me to lean in and enjoy it.
It’s also helped me realize that there are great novels out there like this. When I write, I don’t explain a lot of my backstory. It just is. It’s good to know it can work that way.
I will read more Vonnegut.