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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and clever tales, 4 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Crime Net (Kindle Edition)
*Note: I read this publication in advance of its release.

Anachron Press have a knack for releasing the sort of story or collection that makes you sit up and take notice. The sort that make you follow news of future releases because you know you'll be getting quality reads.

Crime Net is no exception: 4 dark, tales that use hi-tech as a veneer to put the final gloss on what are actually very clever and interesting stories. I won't give too much away about each story, but in brief:

Silent Partner: The essence of the wireless future - when our very thoughts and experiences can be followed by someone else - someone who wants to experience everything they can get their hands on, and is willing to 'buy' a person to carry their desires out for them.

Becoming Tabitha: darkly funny, a tale of dangerous obsession and a brilliant and relentless mind that achieves the ultimate in swops: personality, body, success - everything. What would you sacrifice for ultimate success?

Belonging: this is as disturbing as you could imagine: a grim future where normal life is aided, but also subsumed by the deviant technologies and the evil methods some will use to scavenge their riches. A tale of altered children and a powerful hero and his hi-tech accomplice, but also of the ruthless pursuit of justice.

The Katabasis of Eurydice: cyberpunk? A quasi-religious pursuit of purity and perfect code seeks to remove the blemish that escaped to the Underworld. Our Eurydice must use all the help of her fellow outcast citizens to free herself from the trap she finds herself in.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime for the 21st Century and Beyond, 4 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Crime Net (Kindle Edition)
Anachron Press, the independent publisher, has been around for a while now and each new book that they publish continues to impress. The latest addition to their ever-growing catalogue is a short story anthology that mashes together crime and science fiction. Crime Net contains five short tales. Each story offers the author's own unique interpretation of how crime is going to evolve in the future.

The Silent Partner by Nichola P. Oakley - You're offered the chance to escape all the troubles, to live the dream and spend every day chasing the next big thrill. Too good to be true? Well, there's always a price that needs to be paid isn't there. This was darker than I was expecting, in a good way I should stress. It features what I'll call a less than happy ending but it is an entirely appropriate one.

Becoming Tabitha by R.A. Smith - A case of identity theft that explores the question is the nature of celebrity more important than the celebrities themselves? There's an unexpected and nicely creepy undercurrent in this story. Hardly a surprise when one characters is essentially trying to replace another.

Belonging by T.F. Grant - Special agent Lucius Blake and his equally special partner, Felix, investigate a group of missing children in the wilds of the Welsh countryside. This may be my favourite story from the collection. It had some great characters and I really liked the set up. I'd be interested in reading more stories that feature more of the two main protagonists featured in this particular tale. The dynamic that exists between them both is a lot of fun.

The Katabasis of Eurydice by Vivian Caethe - I like the way that this story plays around with the conventions of the traditional detective yarn. A female detective, slightly down at heel, doing whatever she needs to, to get by. There is also a nice nod to ancient Greek myths. The way that is blended with the high tech science fiction worked really well.

Rebirth: The Techxorcist Part 0.5 by Colin F. Barnes - To round things off a short prequel to the forthcoming release, The Techxorcist. I particularly like the world-building going on in this story, sets things up nicely for the main feature. Based on this tantalising prologue I'll be looking forward to the novel's publication.

Overall, Crime Net is a solid little anthology that features some first class fiction, exactly what I've come to expect from this particular publisher. This is exactly the sort of book I like to get lost in for a couple of hours.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The return of Cyberpunk, 16 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Crime Net (Paperback)
This book takes me back to the 1990s. I'd just started working and had enough money to pay for the phone calls to the single Compuserve London based phone number to access the internet. I used to love looking at the alt.cyberpunk Usenet group and reading the stories. Some were just bizarre but amongst them were some real gems. There were even a couple of book anthologies based on them. These days the nearest comparison to Usenet stories would be a site like Flash Fiction Friday. These stories are not remnants from a forgotten halcyon time though. They are modern and progressive stories that were interesting and exciting in equal measure. They are not all Burning Chrome cyberspace type stories.

The story by Russell A. Smith in particular is a very creeper stalker story. The technology aspects of this story are very cleverly done. There are absolutely no technical details and yet my brain automatically started filling in those details as I was going along. The final story in this book is a story by the editor Colin F. Barnes that fans of his may already have read so be wary of that. I'd already read Techxorcist 0.5 but I enjoyed reading it again. I particularly like the priest character who seems to try and exorcise evil AI in a manner that reminds me of Maxim from The Prodigy. Not just the implied accent but the patterns too.

There is one major failing in this collection of stories though. It is way too short. I wanted at least a couple more stories. It has been so long since I have read a decent cyberpunk anthology that this felt a little like giving a starving man a canapé. So tonight I will be badgering the editor in to releasing a follow-up as soon as possible.

If you are a fan of the cyberpunk genre then you really should read this. If you think you are not a fan then all I will say is that this collection builds on films such as Bladerunner and The Matrix. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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