Welcome!! My name is Paul Lappen. I am in my early 50s, single, and live in Connecticut USA. This blog will consist of book reviews, written by me, on a wide variety of subjects. I specialize, as much as possible, in small press and self-published books, to give them whatever tiny bit of publicity help that I can. Other than that, I am willing to review nearly any genre, except poetry, romance, elementary-school children's books and (really bloody) horror.

I have another 800 reviews at my archive blog: http://www.deadtreesreviewarchive.blogspot.com (please visit).

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Black Glass

Black Glass, John Shirley, Elder Signs Press, 2008

In near future Los Angeles, ex-cop Richard Candle has just been released from prison. This is not your average prison; he has spent the last four years being UnMinded. What happens is that your body functions as normal, used for heaven knows what, while your conscious mind is turned off. It basically turns a person into a brainless automaton. Richard took the fall for Danny, his younger brother, who would have done hard time in a real prison.

Meantime, Grist is the head of Slakon, the world's largest multinational corporation, which owns everything, including the police the courts and Congress. He is building a multisemblant, which is a melding of the copied personalities of the other Slakon board members into one artificial program. His intention is to kill the other board members, and, with the multisemblant's help, run Slakon on his own.

It is a world where the only "good" thing seems to be the ability to lose one's self inside a 3D virtual reality existence, sometimes to the point of starving to death. Richard's intention is to take Danny, a VR addict, away from LA, and get him cleaned up. Danny slips out of Richard's custody, and takes one last VR trip. Things do not end well.

The multisemblant decides to take matters into its own "hands". There are a number of loose ends to be tied up before it can run Slakon on its own. People start dying in all sorts of graphic ways, including Grist. Can Richard find the actual server where the program is stored, and put it out of business for good, before his name is added to the death toll?

This is a very cool, and very high-tech, novel, written by one of the pioneers of the cyberpunk genre. A person can almost feel the grime, the pollution, and the neural implant telephones while reading this book. This might be the first the novel to do something different with the chapter headings at the start of each chapter (read the book and you'll see). This novel may not be for everyone, but it is extremely highly recommended.

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