In the not so distant future the world has free energy, poverty is eliminated with health and education for all. Every fantasy can be indulged by simply slipping on a VR headset allowing individuals to live through their favourite stars eyes. Equality has been achieved and the rich manipulators exposed and stripped of their control. All accomplished by the first sentient benevolent artificial intelligence secretly manipulating events for the betterment of mankind. It was created as the perfect system to help shepherd us through the singularity. It has no greed, no bias or hidden agendas driven only to ensure the continuation of humanity in the best world possible. What could possibly go wrong? As it turns out quite a lot as things start unravelling for Detective Rowan Cinn as he gets caught in a botched VR stars kidnapping days before his retirement. Soon he finds himself in a world of humanity manipulating AIs, secret islands, genetic engineered hunters and sentient stars. It’s a lot to take in while trying to deal with the small matter of why his family is vital to the future of humanity.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
With VR (virtual reality) becoming more and more popular, I was highly intrigued with the premise of this story. The book summary caught my interest and, for the most part, CTRL Illusion lived up to my expectations in regards to what I expected to see in a science fiction / fantasy story.
There were hover bikes, enhanced people, animated tattoos (Kutoo), DNA trackers for prior offenders, optical browsers, and the ability to access a victims’s memories through advanced technology.
Side note: The ability to access a victim’s final moments came with one humungous drawback — the detective experienced all the pain and suffering but couldn’t react. With the level of violence in the world, I’m not sure if mankind is ready for that bit of tech yet. I can see it being developed in the future, like with the story’s 3D imaging of rap sheets and crime scenes.
Now with all the techie aspects of the story, there was also a HIGH LEVEL of gore, revolting scenes that had me gagging at times. There were incidences of cannibalism, bloody orgy scene, and just more…… weirdness. Let me just say, don’t read the Interlude chapters while eating because, if you do, you’ll be feeling the need to upchuck. Actually, I’m feeling the bile rising up simply by thinking about the eating scenes….. Just *shuddering*
If you can stomach the gore and continue reading it, you’ll discover quite an interesting plot. There’s a few surprises —- the end of Chapter 12 ended with quite the showstopper. Plus, the last chapter, Death.
Before I end this review, I want to make note of one thing. A editing point I made to Sid and one I told him I would address in this review. As you read the story, you’ll discover that Sid writes some rather long paragraphs. Paragraphs that I believe would’ve be better suited broken up into small ones. I pointed this out to him and told him the length of each paragraph came across as more textbook like reading material than a novel.
After I read CTRL Illusion, I asked the opinion of four people. I didn’t allow them to read the page, I simply showed them my kindle. They all posed a similar question, “What are you studying?” In my opinion, you don’t want a story to read or LOOK like a textbook. That’ll cause readers to push it aside for another and no author wants their story pushed aside and forgotten. Right? I hope Sid takes my advice when he writes the sequel.
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Sid Visaed is a science fiction writer taking influences from Cyberpunk, Biopunk, Genetic Engineering, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence genres adding dashes of Horror and Thriller. He describes himself as an Immortal Transhumanist just waiting for science to catch him up.
Born and raised in the less than sunny region of the England known as Torbay: The English Riviera, Sid had a love of science fiction from a young age. Falling into a career in quality management he devoted his spare time to imagining stories to illustrate due to his love of the comic and graphic art form.
His debut novel CTRL Illusion set in the near future asks questions about the agency of sentient AI and the implications of creating life in our image. The novel reflects his naked fears and desires mixing them with the intense pace of a thriller dashed with elements of horror.
Contact via email: CTRL_Illusion@outlook.com
Or on Twitter: @BatFonz
Or visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CTRLillusion/