Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Atopia Chronicles

With so much great sf&f on recent release, and so little money to fund my habit I took a punt on "The Atopia Chronicles" by Matther Mather as it is basically six books in one.  I was more than pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

Released as individual short novels these six books tell the story of the society of Atopia and their professed desire to save the world through technology.  Set in a slightly optimistic view of the late middle of 21C, a fusion of nanotech, AI and virtual reality has enabled humanity to live life in private or consensual realities entirely of our own choosing while leaving our bodies to be watched over by phantoms of loving grace (to steal a beautiful phrase), or Proxxis.

The first five stories are told concurrently, each starting and ending at roughly the same time, but focus on the lives of different individuals. The complete chronicles presents them in the order written, though I have it on good authority that they are just as enjoyable in any order.  The sixth book ties it all together into what I found to be an excellent, if not unexpected conclusion.

Most of the concepts covered are not exactly new having been raised and discussed by the likes of Phillip K Dick and Brian Aldiss, and many others.  What is new is the technological backstory which is certainly not in-depth enough to please purists of 'hard' sci-fi, but suggested mechanisms enough to satisfy my geek tendencies.

Not the longest of reads but certainly one I would consider a must for fans of cyberpunk and light scifi.

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