on January 26, 2008
The sad fact is that there is pretty much nothing new and original in the world today. All we have is rehash and repackaging of stuff we've seen elsewhere before.
Then again, I've mentioned that before in several different reviews I've written.
But, fact is, it's all dependant on how things are packaged, how the particular author meshes all these ideas into a single storyline.
Not even the ideas I've had for various books or stories are original. They're all just variants of something we've seen before. Does it mean that they wouldn't be well accepted? I certainly hope that's not the case, but I do realize that there will always be someone who'll point at a particular piece of work and say `I've seen that before' or `I've read that story elsewhere'.
Again, it's all in the execution.
Look also at just how much technology has changed over the past twenty years. I've heard a commercial on the radio that stated `for $1000 name five different ways of communicating'. Twenty years ago, it would be difficult. Today, you could easily name far more than five ways.
I think that the biggest impact to technology have been the Internet and personal communication devices (cellular phones to be exact). These two technological leaps for our species have opened up so many new avenues for us.
Before, you needed to get information; you typically had to go to the library, or even a school or university. Today, all it really takes is a click of the mouse and a few key strokes and viola, you've got what you're looking for.
And we're able to keep in touch far easier than ever. Who needs old fashioned letters when you can text message or type an email? Or hell, do the really old fashioned thing and pick up a phone and make a call? You can even do video calls over the net today, and have been able to do so for several years.
What does this technology hold for us in the future? Just look at the Cyberpunk Genre. Jacking your mind into a computer probably isn't all that far off the way technology keeps advancing.
But, as with everything, there is a downside. With machines getting smarter by the day, programs becoming more and more complicated and advanced, how long is it going to be before true AI, or artificial intelligence becomes a reality?
And when that happens, will it go and pull a Skynet and declare war against it's creators, finding us nothing more than vermin to be exterminated, or will it end up turning its vast intellect to the betterment of mankind?
That's all for the realm of speculation at this time.
The novel Spyware by R.J. Pineiro deals with several of these topics.
I have to admit, I wasn't too impressed with the names he chose for several of his characters, like Mac Savage and Donald Bane. Too cliché. Also, come on, we've seen former Navy SEAL's dozens upon dozens of times.
However, what we've not seen dozens of times is that these characters are flawed. Some even have crippling flaws, dealing with the repercussions of their actions years after the fact.
Mr. Pineiro weaves a very complex story, one which involves blood diamonds, a multi-national spanning corporation, cyberpunk style computer interfacing, and a rogue AI, who is being led by individuals with sinister goals in mind.
I honestly wish that the whole internet browsing that was depicted in this novel existed today, but I think it is still many years off. I do have to say though that I get the feeling that the author played the Shadowrun or Cyberpunk Role playing games though, or that he read a great deal of William Gibson.
The novel also weaves pretty much three different story arcs which all eventually come together at the end of the novel in a pretty action packed finale.
The novel was pretty hefty, weighing in at 564 pages, so it's a nice long read.
It could have been better, and it felt strange reading the cyberpunk aspect of it, when it's supposed to be set in modern times.
Despite the fact that the characters were cliché, and that I felt that many ways I was reading something right out of the Terminator, I did like it. I liked how the main character Mac Savage was haunted by his actions, and what he ended up doing in order to set things right.
I can't give it a perfect rating, but It's still worth reading.
3.5 out of 5.