My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Review: Nanoverse

Nanoverse Nanoverse by Theophilus Monroe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Story: ***
Performance: ***

Fantasy with a SciFi Facade ...

This is a collection of four(4) quick (3+ hours ea) fantasy stories set in a fantasy world wearing the skin of a cyberpunk genre … because it’s all about uses the new buzzword nano as much as possible without any real knowledge of what they are are how they would actually work. Maybe that is just my inner geek chanting that is not how that works in my head for almost the entire book (IOW I know too much about the tech and had a hard time letting go). Regardless … while the story doesn’t work well within the generally accepted norms of SciFi, it was a fairly typical Fantasy that is build to leverage a virtual (fantasy) world concept along the lines of the matrix, upload or free guy where the bad guy mysteriously works toward the total destruction of the real world. It’s not a bad plot … however, it has been done much better else where.

The story begins with an example of unintended consequences despite good intentions when a vaccine is developed to introduce nanites into the human body that would be tasked with healing wounds and preventing disease. Patient Zero is a badly wounded soldier who would probably have died otherwise, so with that success story behind the program, the government mandates nanovax for everybody … and hidden within those nanites is the ability to network into the public cloud to spy on the host AND take over the human conscious … a la mind control (maybe I am reading the tealeaves wrong here, but this part of the story starts to read like covid antivax conspiracies that didn’t help with the whole suspension of disbelief needed to fully enjoy the story).

That is where the algorithm comes in … which works sorta like minority report in that it predicts aberrant behavior ahead of time and reports it to the authorities who controls the nanites which can then control the host. Of course, in this paranoid fantasy, our hero is a threat to the system because his PTSD has change his mind enough that he can’t be controlled and that makes him a terrorist … only before the government can take him out back and shoot him, he is rescued by the resistance so that he can eventually defeat the algorithm.

Of course that is not the end … in part 2 the nanites can now swarm (in say 500 in each cloud) externally and possess others in the physical world … and apparently host an uploaded consciousness and associated memories all in readable code with individual global network addresses … so the resistance moves from minority report into the matrix here … again with a lot less finesse. We also begin to see the hero’s daughter make her debut as the bad guys cats paw … something that didn’t really work for me. This actually becomes a central theme in Post Human as the action moves almost entirely into the virtual world and a race to avoid an apocalypse in the real world. This part of the story calls to mind elements of the bobiverse with all the consciousness cloning. It all wraps up with a redemption arc in the final installment, which for better or for worse can actually stand on its own with no significant inspiration from other stories, but which does get a little preachy with a hint of Judeo-Christian theology … for me, this was actually the best of the four (4)

Book 1: Algorithm (3:56)
Book 2: Nanoswarm (3:43)
Book 3: Posthuman (3:15)
Book 4: Nanowar (2:32)

I was given this free advance review/listener copy (ARC) audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#Nanoverse #StoryOrigin

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.