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Post-Human (Book 2) (Post-Human Series) Kindle Edition
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I thought this book seemed a little shorter than the first, but perhaps that's because I read through it quicker as I enjoyed it more. I had a big gap between reading book 1 and book 2 and had trouble getting back into the complicated swing of things. You really have to know your nans to appreciate how clever this author is.
Definitely a recommended read for all sci fans, and I think this could easily be read as a stand alone story as well.
Since then the downloadable version has been updated and fixed. David Simpson has contacted me over the review as he was most upset that I had received a corrupted version thanks to his publisher. He has sent me a non corrupted version along with the sequeal. Its nice that an author is keen to engage with his fans and read the reviews.
The story moves at a fast pace. The stories pace moves fast because it is concise without missing anything out. It's a well thought out original story that I enjoyed very much. I strongly recommend reading this book.
I had a problem getting into the book. This was mostly due the flight ability the characters had and their use of it to travel to Venus as if commuting to work. Technically it may be feasible but economically it would be had to justify the energy expense to commute to Venus. This was the only reason I couldn't give the book a rating of 5.
Everything else about the book was great.
The books vision of how we will merge with technology is a very interesting and attractive concept. I've no doubt there will be dissenters (I work with a gent who refuses to have a mobile phone).
The characters were a bit stereotypical for the roles they played but this didn't detract from the book's message. A bit of time with the Purists before the holocaust would have added to the story, such as why they didn't want nans and how they were treated by the AI and the rest of human culture.
I am very interested in exploring the Post-Human world further.
Mr. Simpson is good a constructing a fast-paced page-turner, I'll give him that. The book is short and is not a slog to get through. One thing that Mr. Simpson also does very well is illustrating just how completely dependent we are on technology using his futurist setting: the post-humans in the book are almost completely helpless without the technology they are so accustomed to, and anyone who's ever been at a total loss because their electricity's been out for a day or two can well sympathise with that.
However, the characterisation issues that were a minor issue in the first book are far more pronounced here. Aldous Gibson, whose name remains an obvious and clumsy reference to renowned sci-fi authors, is something of a petty bully now -- a far cry from the man so committed to non-violence at the beginning of 'Sub-Human' that he risked his own life to save an enemy. More than that, he casually suggests that an act of genocide against Purist humans is a 'good thing'. The man has obviously fallen far, but there's not enough characterisation here or in the preceding book to justify that.
The protagonists of the book, a Venusian research team, are described as highly intelligent but act more like petulant children. One man, Rich, is supposedly well past the traditional point of middle age (people don't age any more) but is such a sulky, irrational tantrum-throwing child that he's difficult to take seriously. The audience goodwill Mr. Simpson has cleverly built up with his 'over-reliance on technology' theme is tossed out of the window when Rich reacts to a meal of chicken and mashed potatoes with extreme disgust, throwing it to the floor like a toddler who doesn't want to eat his greens. Fair enough: he's disgusted at the concept of meat. But treating the people who are trying to help him with such concept makes him far from a sympathetic character. The fact that the character offering him the food -- characterised as someone with good reason to distrust Post-Humans -- doesn't even bat an eye and immediately accommodates Rich's petty immaturity only worsens the scene.
The lead protagonist's love interest, Thel, is similarly characterised as a petty, selfish and immature woman who injures and threatens Purist humans despite their trying to help her lover. Again, I get it -- she sees traditional surgery as archaic and dangerous -- but there had to be a better way of illustrating this without turning her into a petulant and self-centred child with superpowers.
The last straw with this book's characterisation was the AI. Characterised as helpful and good-natured in the first book, the AI is now a complete bastard just because. Absolutely no explanation is given for this change in demeanour and outlook, although one character does wonder at one point why the AI has suddenly turned on humanity. If you want me to buy that a previously benevolent character is now such a sadist that he kills the lead's wife just to make him suffer, you'd better damn well justify it. But no justification is given, and it hurts the book irreparably.
Finally, the ending is extremely pat and almost offensive in its implications. Mr. Simpson had the balls to kill off most of the human race in the book, but giving the lead godlike powers and having him just 'fix' everything it a toothless cop-out. It's offensive because the lead, who has cheated on his wife by this point, conveniently cannot restore his dead wife to life, but can restore every single other person in the world. He gets to be with his new lover guilt-free, and his wife gets to be the single real casualty of this book, murdered by a bizarrely characterised AI for no other apparent reason than to make the leading man's love life unburdened by adultery or complex emotions in the next book.
A disappointing follow-up to the first book. I will continue reading because I got the four-book set, but I don't have especially high hopes.
As you go through the book, you do feel some similarities to other books and films in the genre, but not so much that it feels overborrowed or unoriginal. The balance is just right.
I can't wait to read Trans-human next.
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