by Aaron Safronoff
Neoglyphic Entertainment

"I traded my cash for his satchel of happiness. I got up smoothly from the bench and took my leave of that life, that scene, that event... it was already behind me. Really, so far behind me that I wasn't sure it happened at all."

Set in the future in a world in which governments have been replaced by the Collective, random genetic mutations or intentionally installed GEaRS (i.e. cybernetic enhancements) can change the way humans interact with the world. For most, this serves as merely a distraction or a game, for the Collective it's a means of control, but for those who operate around the system, it can be deadly. Anyone in this world identified as having developed or acquired skills they shouldn't have are considered to be Maladaptive and quickly scrubbed from the system. That is, until Joshua.

Joshua has tended to float through life to the point at which the story opens. Somehow not able to find purpose after his brother's death, Joshua strives only for the barest of living essentials and the best drugs he can buy. When he attempts a new drug, he has no idea what keys it will unlock in his mind or that everyone else who used it died. No one stopped to consider what might happen if Joshua lived.

Opening with a dream-like return to reality from the perspective of a drug user (importantly not an addict), you can be halfway through the book before you really start to understand what's going on, but you should enjoy the ride. The writing is beautifully descriptive in all the right places in ways that'll make a logophile drool. Don't worry if big words aren't your thing, though, because the language is well-suited to a general audience. The ideas and the possibilities it contains will keep you entertained long after you've read the final page.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home