4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: WE (Paperback)
Sometime in the future a clever invention called the World-Ear will be created. A mixture of the mobile phone and the internet it will be an implant behind your ear that will allow you to access information from everyone the world over. There will be no need to talk because anything you want to say will be transmitted from your mind directly to theirs. Any invention or creation will instantly update all over specialists in that area. Stressed out? Don't worry, as soon as your heart begins to speed up you'll receive automatic updates. This is the world into which Paul Munro was born and now he is leaving it. An eight year trip through space will take him to the Earth's furthest space station on a moon circling a far away planet and the people who man it as they search for life. Large portions of information being sent back home is being corrupted somehow and it's Paul's job to find out why. Two men and two women stuck out in space for the rest of their lives and among the few people left without the use of the World-Ear. Trying to cope with the removal of his link to the world and hearing the arguments of those who consider themselves the last true humans left alive, Paul must decide between individuality or the safety of the collective as humankind coalesces and forms a new entity on Earth, the WE. All the while something lurks in the darkness of space, something frightened of this new birth in the Solar System. And when you corner a beast, the chances are it will lash out.
As always and in the best traditions of the science fiction genre, this is a book to make you think. With a story definitely aimed at older readers the author takes a close look at the dangers of instant communication and the effects it could have upon the human race. With the possibility of transferring knowledge and thoughts both immediately and effortlessly through the World-Ear, which is I imagine a much more highly developed Facebook, Humankind has surrendered it's individuality in favour of the collective. This has lead to the WE and the author colourfully describes it as a feral child newly born and alone. Through much of the book the authors beliefs seem clear but towards the end the dangers of being alone become clear as well and the reader is left, with no conclusion drawn, to make their own decision.
The writing style is rather intense and gives you a real sense of claustrophobia and a hint of the madness that the four people in the station must be feeling. Death feels forever just round the corner and has a noticeable effect on the characters who fall into infighting and better resentment as they are left to determine their own future for the first time in their lives. Consequently the characters are far from likable, especially Paul.
The result of all this is a book to exercise your mind, designed to make you think and by no means a light read for simple enjoyment. If you're after some fun and adventure then read a Terry Pratchett but if you want a novel along the lines of the great science-fiction writers of the past then pick this up, make yourself some time and immerse yourself into a dark and freighting future.