The Scorpion Game Paperback – June 1, 2013
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 14.7 ounces
- Paperback : 310 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1490330720
- ISBN-13 : 978-1490330723
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 8.0.20130601.003 edition (June 1, 2013)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#3,850,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #9,890 in Hard Science Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW
Have you ever held your cellphone in your hand and wondered where you would be without this thing? Have you ever caught yourself trying to remember what was it like to live "unconnected"? The youngest members of our society are going to be the first American generation to have grown up with no memory of such a state of mind, and might actually wonder someday how anyone could have ever gotten by without "in flagrante conexus": a state of existence where we have a constant linkage via devices - phones, computers, what have you - that seemingly endlessly connect them to friends, family, work, music, movies, TV, the business world--heck, to practically EVERYTHING there is in this world?
Well, THE SCORPION GAME goes not just one further, but maybe a hundred times so: author Daniel Jeffries postulates a future so grimly linked to the computer that one might wonder if we more easily do without oxygen.
And, as such, THE SCORPION GAME is a cyberpunk whodunit that can't be faulted for a lack of imagination--it's an amalgam of sci-fi so intensely locked in to a future where technology is so innate that the author cannot introduce it all within a paragraph, a page, a chapter or, probably, only one novel. In fact, from the very start of the novel to its ending every single page holds at least one new surprise for the reader. Like the unforgettable opening line of William Gibson's Neuromancer ("The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel...") we can tell this novel is going to be a genuine mindbender from its opening page, too, when the detective investigating a grisly murder scene complains, "Why didn't somebody stop the rain?"
From this point onward we are treated to organic skyscrapers so tall that their upper floors are "hidden in the swirling mists of the troposphere." It's a world where detectives gather evidence via nanobots and mechanical beat cops, where there's no longer police tape barriers but "energy bubbles," where victims falling out of (lower-floor) windows may be spared due to patrolling suicide umbrellas and "nano-threaded" pavement that absorbs impact, where in fact even death might not be an end to life if one can afford "relife insurance." It is a world of reporter drones and police ride biomechanical stallions and microscopic cameras that bear witness to almost everything, floating around the city "like wind-blown dust."
This is truly a marvelous and frightening world that poses this question: are we better off because of such connectedness, one wonders, or is this indeed a con, where all that technology really accomplishes is to provide a false sense of security? In THE SCORPION GAME citizens have embedded IDs, recorded DNA, and annexed "backbrains" that is much like an airplane's black box. Is there any true freedom in a society such as this?
All this, and I have not yet left Chapter One.
This is a work of immense imagination and a whirlwind of a plot. There is scarcely a page--nay, paragraph--that does not challenge us. And I haven't even really touched upon the plot: someone of a hideously sinister mentality is killing off people in sexually compromising death scenes and escaping with seemingly impossible invisibility, without the slightest clue as to his, or her - or its - identity. Like so many mystery novels nowadays the chapters are alternately divided between the biography of the villain and the current-day detective work of the besieged police. And what makes it worse is that this is a society on the edge of instability - a societal ship nearing mutiny. The rich are not just above us figuratively: they literally live above earth's atmosphere in starships as large as continents, where a single room might go on for MILES. And the citizens are tired, and angry...a powder keg ready to blow.
There will probably be some who will find SCORPION to have taken on too much - that it is a plot irrevocably stretched by attempting to place a mystery thriller inside a sci-fi juggernaut. For some, this is perhaps true. But I found this novel to be quite brilliant in its consistent imagination that not only continuously surprises us with its originality - body parts that serve as weaponized limbs, for example; or office walls that breathe; or virtual brains that partition off tasks for greater productivity; or living tattoos that undulate continuously; or bio-luminescent cockroaches whose DNA has been reconfigured to CLEAN rooms...the list goes on and on.
But I loved this book and found it an absolute pleasure to read; Jeffries does a great job of providing just enough explanation to avoid either under- or over-description. I don't profess to be a guy who reads everything out there on the future and technology, but I haven't seen a future this "linked in" since Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash or David Marusek's Counting Heads : two books I also found frightening because of their casually omnipresent technological environment. Yet what I really found to be MORE upsetting is that citizens soon seem not to notice invasive technology and, simply, "adjusts."
Be aware that there is sexuality within this book and rather descriptive perverse pleasures. As one might guess, tomorrow's society, as envisioned by Jeffries, is quite wild by our present day's "tepid" standards--indeed, I won't even describe the physical "accommodations" or activities he creates. Let's just say they're as imaginative as the rest of the book. This will upset some, I am sure. But a book like this is designed to shock us, to not just let us see where we might be going, but to serve as a warning that connectedness may actually create MORE distance between us, making normal human interaction seem hopelessly plain.
As a long time sci fi and cyberpunk fan (Neromancer came out when I was in high school) this book REALLY scratched that itch I didn't even know I had. I have been ready so much lightweight stuff that this was like a double shot of tequila after drinking water for months. Very heady stuff!
The author had reached out to me and asked if I could read his book and he would give me a free copy in exchange for an honest review. After reading the first chapter I went and bought the book, and then bought a copy for a couple of my friends and sent it to them too. It really is that good. Keep up the good work, you are now on my watchlist for the future.
Whether you label this a detective mystery or thriller, this is a great read. Hoskins is the detective protagonist, and he and his partner Quinlin make a great pair. Their repartee is witty and entertaining. The plot races forward with one murder after another, set against the backdrop of increasing civil unrest and fascinating characters. There are some graphic scenes of violence, but they are well-placed and Jeffries is definitely not out for cheap thrills.
The plot is masterfully woven, full of drama and tension and you soon find yourself suspecting everyone. When the twist comes, you'll fully appreciate what a ground breaking novel this is. Wow. And I defy anyone to put the book down once it enters the final conflict.
Watch Jeffries. I think he's going to be a force to be reckoned with. If you like Chandler, cyberpunk, Banks then check this out.
Top reviews from other countries
The plot is well thought out, the story is fast paced either with action or new things to discover and the characters strong. But beware the world you enter is a perverted one with anything goes and the author's description of it pulls no punches. You might want to put it down/ stop reading it as I did. You even might think the villain justifiable in the actions he takes, yet his own evil comes through and he is really only out for revenge.
What will happens if the civilization retreated earth and is homed in several gargantuan always evolving ships in space that replicates earth cities. Where the most rich and powerful are untouchable keep mansions in the sky above the normal people. And when this start to get murdered without an apparent connection a PD detective and his companion face a difficult case to crack.
The history is complex and rich while the writing make it easy to follow. The capacity of the author to introduce the world shines and the always evolving history.
The book itself is great and I can hope that it gets a well deserved attention from many readers. A well edited book with a Major A+ in quality.