by Jim Munroe
No Media Kings
Jim Munroe writes fun science fiction novels: people turn into insects and become unlikely superheroes (Flyboy Action Figure Comes With Gasmask), teach English on a planet with a liquid atmosphere (Angry Young Spaceman), and in this, his latest book, upload their minds.
Munroe’s pacing, character development, and biting satire just get better with each book. In Silico, he offers a frightening world in which marketing permeates society and corporations have literally taken over the world. History is being revised so that business is king; the environment is an afterthought, money is all important, and everyone’s motivation is supposed to be a drive for more.
You experience this world through the eyes of disaffected artists, corporate marketing hacks, a “grandmother” who is much more than meets the eye, a twelve-year-old programming wunderkind, and a business man with a complicated agenda. In fact, many of these perspectives are doubled: the corporate “coolhunter” is also a parent; the “grandson” is also a clone. This means the story can be a bit confusing until you have everyone sorted out, but not so much that it detracts from the story.
The story really pulled me in and kept me reading. There are so many little details that “just work” like the flukes, the daughter’s reaction to boy band marketing, Eileen’s being duped in her secret life.
Munroe has written a book about manipulation that doesn’t leave the reader feeling cheated, but entertained as well as a bit angry. Highly recommended.