Book Review – Cronix by James Hider
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is near future post human science fiction. The premise is that humanity works out how to upload consciousness to virtual worlds and this results in amazing breakthroughs of scientific knowledge and an effective end to death. Almost everyone chooses to join the exodus from fleshy existence to living eternally in the comfort of virtual worlds.
The story is set several hundred years after the break through. Told from multiple points of view, including flashbacks to the pre uploading memories of one of the protagonists. It takes a while to build to sound engagement because you need to get engaged with each of the viewpoints, but when you get there you really are engaged.
There is a clear sense of a believable future world, it sort of makes sense given the technology. To relieve boredom a very small number of the Eternals re-manifest in flesh either to maintain things or to reproduce, offspring only come in the old fashioned way. There are also descendants of those that chose not to be uploaded still on Earth. Lastly, there are also those that have been thrown out of the Orbiters for criminal activity.
The story mainly revolves around a single character who was involved in the original research on uploading as a test subject. Choosing to stay on Earth with a phobia of the virtual worlds he is forced out of his backwoods life (in Dorking) and driven into London where he comes to the attention of the authorities. He is very much a reluctant hero, doing the right thing but forced to act either by the authorities or by some shadowy agents of another power that remains anonymous most of the way through the story.
This was an interesting read and it made me think a little when I was reading it. Not least of which I wondered where the power and maintenance of the orbiters was coming from. However, that isn’t relevant for the story. There is a god story in here and one that continues past the end of the book. I know that there is a sequel in progress and I will look out for it.