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Sycamore Kindle Edition
|Length: 371 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a great and all too possible story and very readable even if it is more a polemic than a novel. It reminded me of the great Robert Tressel' s novel on Socialism, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, not, obviously, in content but writing style. This latter languished unpublished for too many decades before finally surfacing in entirety in the 1950's and was itself trying to open people's eyes to what was happening around them, so thank goodness for Indie publication nowadays. Tressel' s book was and Sycamore is a wake up call to our society, and the picture painted here is one far more terrifying than that of 1984.
Read it and be afraid
The Ok: This book has very little action. Most of the book is simply dialogue between the main character and the other players in the story. I felt that the conversations were a bit too long, and several times I found whole paragraphs that could have been left out (or glossed over by the reader) with no detrimental effect on the story. As a reader I don't need constant action, but I just found the excessive conversations grew dull after awhile. The pacing went as follows- dialogue, conversations, discussions, more talking, BAM! action, ending. That being said there was a lot of interesting dialogue, my complaint is just that some of it was a little excessive.
The Bad: The ending. I wont go into detail to avoid spoiling it for anyone, but I was not satisfied by the ending. It felt rushed and abrupt, almost as if the author wrote himself into a corner and wasn't sure how to wrap things up. Sadly, the ending failed to resolve the story line in any meaningful way. I don't know if the author was going for the "open ended" type of story or if this is a set up for a sequel book, but after investing so much time in the story I would have liked to found out how things played out. Did the bad guy get his comeuppance and the good guy find redemption? If you don't mind not knowing the answers to these questions then check the book out. In my opinion, a better ending would have made this a 4 star read.
Summary: Great concept, presented in a slightly long-winded way, with an open ending that doesn't actually resolve the main conflict of the story.
(The story seems to be professionally edited with minimal typos and errors found)
Sycamore was super cool and intense. The idea of UltraLenses paired up with Kurt's microchip is awesome. All the technology you need is right on your person. He also came up with the idea of having the lenses record your life for later playback. You can relive your first kiss! Prom! Disneyland vacation! Anything! Of course, the Sycamore company who develops his idea takes it to the extreme, as you can imagine. Tracking, targeted advertising, digitized money, virtual plastic surgery! It's madness! This is not what Kurt had in mind, and it was totally twisted how this company was able to make it all seem like good, safe ideas, and avoid responsibility when things go wrong. They're basically like "We don't force people to do X, we just charge them for it!" It's madness.
There were only two things that really kept me from loving Sycamore. The first was that it needed some more editing. At first I thought it was set in the UK because of some of the words used and the punctuation, but then we're told that it's set in America. There's even mentions of VAT, which as far as I know isn't used here. It was just distracting and pulled me out the story when I noticed it. There's no reason that this couldn't have been set somewhere in Europe, but I suppose America is the most obsessed with smart phones and invasive tech.
The second was that there's multiple mentions of needing the UltraLenses for getting into houses, cars, etc and how if Sycamore shuts down your chip, then you're locked out. But not everyone had lenses before Kurt's chip, so therefore not everyone has this kind of tech on their houses and cars, and those same people are probably the ones who didn't buy the chip when it did come out, so they still wouldn't have that tech on their houses and cars. There would have needed to be a complete overhaul on infrastructure and there's no way that happened.
I don't want to give too much away, but Sycamore was a great read. This future feels probable. Much of this stuff already exists, it's just not at the level it's portrayed here. We're living in a time where almost everyone is constantly plugged in, we're constantly be bombarded with ads, being told to buy this and wear that. It's not hard to imagine technology developing this far in the name of progress to the point where we forget what's even real anymore and become wholly dependent on it. Of course, Kurt has to fight the system he accidentally helped create, but that's not until the sequel!
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