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Definitely no zombies ;-)
on 9 February 2014
Horror write Wayne Simmons takes a cross-genre roadtrip in Plastic Jesus and, as a first foray into the SCI-FI world, comes up with an immensely readable tale set in a dystopian future.
Virtual Reality is the thrust of this world, mostly used as an escape mechanism from the mundanity and horror of the everyday lives of the people of Lark City, the choice for them is basically between VR addiction or drug addiction.
Johnny Lyon, the main character, is a coder, tasked by a failing corporation to create a VR simulation of Jesus, a Jesus that becomes a personal friend and guide individual to every user. They rush him, he cuts corners and Jesus takes on a life of his own. The Jesus simulation actually takes a background role in the story and is more a vehicle to push the main characters into their places in various set pieces that come together brilliantly at the end. There are some well thought up main characters here, quite a few in fact, that manage to avoid becoming cliched and despite the amount of them, don't disjoint the story or throw the reader back out of the book, as often happens when a story jumps from viewpoint to viewpoint.
If i wanted to pigeon-hole this story i'd say it was Sci-Fi-Noir-Lite. Though not as bleak or heavy as 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?', it definitely comes from the same family. The only downside for me is that it wasn't long enough, hence me calling it 'lite'! I wanted more backdrop, i wanted deeper characterisation, but neither of those wants takes away from a story that, come the middle, i was hooked with and, come the end, i didn't want to end.
Wayne Simmons has built his foundations as a story teller in Horror and has no built on them with a move to Sci Fi with an excellent story, which to me shows what a quality writer he is. I look forward to Mr Simmons next foray into the Sci-Fi world and would definitely welcome another visit to Lark City.