"He was an outsider, looking at the world dully, as if through bad optics, as if it were black and white when it should have been brilliant colour."

Kirchner paints a bleak, highly controversial picture of humanity's future in his debut novel that is reminiscent of other dystopian masterpieces like The Matrix. Kirchner places the reader in the mind of its protagonist, Tommy (or "TeePee" as his raving fan base calls him), to ponder whether privacy and independence are more important than a constant connection with others on a level that is beyond words. Like The Matrix's Neo, Tommy is metaphorically "unplugged" from the technological world he has been rooted in and forced to make a difficult choice: join a band of independent thinkers, known as the Ketchen, who dream of a revolution that will free the minds of all, or re-integrate himself back into the Hive, to be embraced by the love and adoration of eight million people.

Love it or hate it, social media has deeply integrated itself into society to a point where it is almost as controversial a topic as religion or politics. Kirchner paints a reality through a lively and dynamic cast of characters where some readers will sympathize with the rag-tag independent team, while others may think their way of life is thankfully obsolete. While Tommy is neither a philosopher nor the smartest protagonist, his verbal sparring with Shripton is akin to Neo's philosophical discussions with other characters in the film. Why do the few get to make such a life-altering decision for the many against their wishes? Kirchner leaves this question and others unanswered. This is the true heart of his story, which promotes readers to have a stimulating conversation (or debate) since life is not measured in absolutes. Philosophical quandaries aside, Kirchner's tale is action-packed, with several heart-breaking twists sprinkled throughout that will engage science fiction readers of all walks of life.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Next Focus Review
Previous Focus Review

Return to USR Home