"The Fortunate Fall" by Raphael Carter
This book takes place 300+ years from now in Russia. The world has been changed by the extension of computerization and the internet into neural implants, direct brain-machine interface and various consequences of that. Political rule has seen a more traditional repressive regime swept away by an “army” of people with implants taken over by internet “viruses”, and that in turn replaced by a new system intended to protect people from that happening again and at the same time using its own mind control approach. North America apparently is a backwater of the international community and Africa is at the forefront of technology.
We are introduced to rebels who have tried to attack the system by ruthless and devious methods, to a woman whose past lesbianism has been “suppressed” by an implant, to a man whose brain and body were reworked in a scientist’s experiments, to the world’s last living whale, to police who question their suspects over a shared pot of tea before making them disappear…
The main character is a “camera” – a person whose implants allows her to broadcast what she sees and experiences live over the internet. It’s referred to as “virtual reality”, but it’s not an artificial place as we know the term. In the case of the “camera” it’s letting an audience experience what somebody else’s interaction with the real world are. In other cases, it can be experiencing the actors in a performance. From the other person’s brain to implant to net to your implant and brain. To one degree or another it is a two-way process with mediator controlling it. It seems to be a medium even more seductive than television is today. It doesn’t so much provide an endless source of information and people with common interests, as a new form or “reality TV”, soap operas and the National Inquirer.
The book is well-written and kept my interest. It has twists and turns to keep you wondering. But I didn’t find the end of the book very satisfying, with big questions unanswered. Granted, some of those questions appear to have obvious answers, but this does not seem to be the kind of book one should assume anything. Other unanswered questions are even more dangling.
It’s certainly not a “feel good” novel or something for someone craving a view of galactic greatness. It may appeal to those who like cyber fiction.