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Review: When human brains get hacked, Arts News & Top Stories



By Nick Clark Windo

Headline Publishing Group/ Paperback/352 pages/$29.95/ Books Kinokuniya

three.5 stars

British writer Nick Clark Windo faucets a typical on a regular basis habit for inspiration for his debut novel – the hundreds of thousands across the world who are virtually perpetually glued to their telephones and are stricken after they have to disconnect.

Call it a #firstworldproblem if you want, however in Windo’s world, the compulsive urge to verify e-mail and social media always and the obsession over “likes” and “shares” have taken over the world through a expertise often called the Feed.

He imagines a not-so-distant future the place a planet that’s overreliant on expertise is left crippled when all the system falls aside, on this high-concept debut that mixes the science-fiction and dystopian genres.

It feels all of the extra well timed, what with the raging controversy over how political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had, with out Facebook’s authorisation, mined consumer knowledge to affect the 2016 United States presidential election.

Rights have been acquired for The Feed – by Amazon and Virgin Media – to supply a 10-part sequence that’s set in London. It will probably be tailored for the small display screen by the author of the hit zombie sequence The Walking Dead (2010 to current).

This is maybe a missed alternative for Netflix, because the novel reads like an episode in its Black Mirror (2011 to current) science-fiction anthology that examines the ramifications of recent applied sciences.

At the core of the ebook is newly-married couple Tom and Kate, who expect their first little one when the Feed collapses. The chief of the free world has additionally been assassinated, plunging the planet into chaos.

With the Feed, everybody is consistently plugged into an infinite stream of data.

All reminiscences, experiences and interactions are saved in a cloud, with knowledge computerised to such an extent that commercials are user-targeted, books are almost extinct and correct grammar has turn out to be pointless.

The expertise is created and managed by an ever-powerful mega-corporation that can also be experimenting with a prototype to genetically engineer the Feed such that it turns into a part of one’s DNA.

The system crash leaves everybody crippled and having to fend for themselves with none concept the best way to do essentially the most basic items. Many are helpless from being pressured to go chilly turkey.

Thus begins the survival story – however with one other lurking menace. A mysterious being has been hacking into the brains of human beings through the Feed and possessing their our bodies as they sleep.

In the six years for the reason that collapse, Tom and Kate have turn out to be a part of a small neighborhood. But they’re prompted to go away after two members get “taken” in fast succession, and when their daughter Bea, six, will get kidnapped.

Windo’s darkly atmospheric novel is gripping but considerably unpolished in its pacing – the novel actually picks up velocity solely within the second half. But he succeeds in getting underneath your pores and skin, in cleverly casting an invisible but all-powerful villain that appears much more harmful than brain-eating zombies. If you want this, learn: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel (Pan Macmillan, 2015, $19.94, Books Kinokuniya). An elegiac dystopian novel about love, loss and survival, through which a wandering band of actors performs Shakespeare to survivors 20 years after a deadly virus wipes out many of the world.

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