Written by: Matthew Mather
Hot on the heels of last year’s indie hit, the techno-disaster epic Cyberstorm, Matthew Mather is back with Darknet, a chilling look at the dangers of autonomous corporations, cryptocurrencies and the ever-increasing role technology and especially artificial intelligence is playing in their development.
A young stockbroker ,Jake O’Connell, finds his world and family torn apart when he receives a call from a friend at the moment of his untimely death, which sets in motion a chain of events leading to the investigation of his employer for fraud and the implication of Jake himself as he is framed for sexual assault. With the help of his ex-con brother, he embarks on a journey to find the truth about who has orchestrated this situation and why, pursued by not only the law but by relentless forces controlled by those he is investigating.
Meanwhile in China, a young programmer discovers people who are dying yet still appearing in public, and a terrifying assassination market where anyone with enough money can have pretty much any target eliminated anonymously. As the link between the two becomes more obvious, the danger increases and both must fight for survival.
Once again, Mather weaves a scarily plausible tale. So much so that some of the technology speculated about in Darknet has already become reality since it was written and is in place in some major corporations, making it all the more unsettling. Taking on a story of this magnitude is no mean feat and the author’s tech background stands him in good stead. Technical and financial jargon is well-explained without sounding like a condescending IT guy or a dull accountant and this makes the narrative all the easier to follow. The fast-paced, movie-like plot weaves some realistic scenarios with mind-numbing twists and steady character development and though at times it may feel complex and overbearing to some, this adds to the experience, making it all the more disturbing as we realise how little we know about how these organisations really operate and how much power and control they have over our everyday lives and their global reach.
4 out of 5 nerds