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CTRL ALT Revolt! Kindle Edition
|Length: 474 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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And again honestly, the second and third time I read it was motivated by just what a fine writer Cole is. I'd never read any of his work before. But I will again.
I'll spare the reader the plot summary, as this limited format isn't to do Cole justice. But the story is, well, interesting and bordering on the intricate. Cole deftly weaves together separate plotlines to satisfying effect, set in cyberspace or a cyberpunk-type near future that looks disturbingly plausible. In fact, I think that's where Cole really shines, the fact that I can read this book and easily picture it...a true mark of SciFi prowess is the mixing of the realistic and the fantastic in such a way that you don't always know which is which. And probably the best thing here is that your protagonists...scratch that, the characters in general....are not cookie cutter figures. There is depth and complexity to them. They are interesting. They make me want to know more (and apparently I can find out more, as I understand this is a prequel to Soda Pop Soldier, a book I'm now looking forward to reading.
This is a brilliant book. I don't care how I got to it...I'm just glad I did.
Sound crazy? Well, maybe a little bit. But AIs bent on self-preservation can surely wreak some havoc. Cole has a great grasp of pop culture and technological trends. In his near future, gaming has become huge, surpassing a failing movie industry at the help of popular culture. In fact, much of the action in Ctrl Alt Revolt! takes place in the world of gaming.
The AIs hijack drones to attack the headquarters of WonderSoft, the leading game developer. Game developer Ninety-Nine Fishbein (his mother was caught up in the Occupy movement. . . .) finds himself leading the fight against the AIs within his game as well as on the WonderSoft compound. Gamer Mara Bennett has had little luck finding a job, even with the help of the "You Got Job!" government job placement program. She's blind and walks with crutches due to her cerebral palsy, but when she puts on her Razer Dragon Eyes VR goggles and logs into the Make, she becomes Subcommander CaptainMara, captain of the Romulan warbird Cymbalum.
Cole blends the stories of Fish, Mara, and the AIs together with plenty of twists and turns and "Where is he going with this?--Oh, there!!" moments. Aside from a great story, I enjoyed several things. His social-political commentary, with plenty of tongue-in-cheek references that made me think of the future worlds of Idiocracy, Robocop, and the like. The way that Mara is transformed from a blind, crippled, unemployed young lady into an assertive, confident starship captain reminds me of the almost infinite possibilities technology is offering people with disabilities. Finally, the incorporation of scripted actors in actual live network gaming, if it hasn't already begun to happen, is surely around the corner.
Cole writes great action sequences (which is nice, since they make up lots of the book!), has interesting ideas about what's next in the world of technology, and throws in some entertaining political commentary along the way. Ctrl Alt Revolt! is a fun read, for gamers and non-gamers alike. Read it!
Thanks, Nick, for the complimentary electronic review copy! Here's the unbiased review I promised.
Overall, this is probably my least favorite Nick Cole novel. And I've read most of his stuff. Normally when reading one of Nick's tomes, I get a clear picture of the world he is describing. What I got here were juddering fotos. Snippets. And I didn't like what I saw.
The writing wasn't as smooth as other Cole novels. Was it dictated?
I don't know. I didn't like the novel at all.