Author: Simon Ings
Paperback: 304 pages
Released: 16th January 2014.
The new novel from Simon Ings is a story that balances on the knife blade of a new technology. Augmented Reality uses computing power to overlay a digital imagined reality over the real world. Whether it be adverts or imagined buildings and imagined people with Augmented Reality, the world is no longer as it appears to you, it is as it is imagined by someone else.
Two friends are working at the cutting edge of this technology and when they are offered backing to take the idea and make it into the next global entertainment they realise that wolves hunt in this imagined world. And the wolves might be them.
A story about technology becomes a personal quest into a changed world and the pursuit of a secret from the past. A secret about a missing mother, a secret that could hide a murder.
I am a huge fan of dystopian literature, from George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm to more recent releases such as The Hunger Games and The Bone Season. However, this novel; described as a chilling literary dystopia for fans of Iain Banks and J.G Ballard, left me disappointed and very confused. The blurb on the back of the book reads ‘At school, Connie and Micky cooked up all the ways the world could end. Years later, will their reunion reveal who killed Conrad’s mother? Will it make them a lot of money? Or, just maybe, bring about the collapse of Western civilisation?’ However, the book makes hardly any of this clear, I was well over half way through the book before I could discern a plot line of any sort. The book’s ideas are very vague and there is little depth to the characters or their relationships, it is all very sketchy and unconvincing.
I was baffled by the dialogue in this novel, I found it very cryptic and it resulted in me reading some pages four to five times trying to discover what the writer was trying to say. I also found the novel very poorly structured, lacking in any flow. My final criticism is the use of swearing in the novel: overused and unimaginative, and also the almost laughable sex scenes. They almost feel jammed into the novel, there is a scene in the third chapter which seems completely unconnected to events, they feel like an afterthought.
All in all this was not the novel for me; I was left feeling very confused and bewildered by the writing style. However, if you are a fan of unconventional writing methods or Mr Ings’ previous novels you may get more from this novel than I did.