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|Print List Price:||£14.48|
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The Shockwave Rider Kindle Edition
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Brunner was a British science fiction writer who did his best work in the 1960s and early 1970s in this book he reflects on a connected world not too far away from the one that we live in. Despite Brunner’s roots he manages to speak with a confident American voice in his writing; something that I don’t think is a bad thing, but caused friction with his contemporaries.
The main protagonist is a hacker who has used his skills to conjure new identities and ends up starting a revolution through the creation of computer viruses and worms. Brunner is credited with introducing the concept of the modern computer worm.
His work reflects a different society to our own where our identities can be broken (if you have the skill or the money) and a new one forged – a vision 180 degrees away from what governments, advertisers and social networks want. He is on to something with The Ear – a service that audiences can contact and will be listened to in privacy and without judgement. The secular confessional it represents feels like something the world needs as a counterweight to the cognitive dissonance and connectivity-as-social-value of social networks like Facebook and SnapChat.
The first half of the story is told in flashbacks during interrogation, and is spaced with ethical arguments between Nickie and his interrogator. In this way Brunner - as well as telling a fascinating story - brings in some very serious moral considerations. Where does freedom lie when all choices are known - and preguessed? In a fiercely individualistic society, what happens to the individual who stands alone?
Brunner can do much better than this - if you have the stamina for it try Stand on Zanzibar, a much better novel.
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The writing style may put some people off.Read more