Not so long ago, cyberpunk felt as dated as camo trousers and wallet chains. But with the rise of devices like Google Glass and the Oculus Rift, the genre is suddenly finding a fresh relevance. Enter Thomas Sweterlitsch's debut.
Ten years ago, Pittsburgh was reduced to ash in a terrorist attack. John Blaxton survived, but his wife and daughter were among the millions wiped out. Now he spends his time trawling through a virtual reality archive, reliving the lives of those lost in the attack. But when he stumbles on the body of a girl, he realises that somebody is tampering with the data for their own sinister ends…
Tomorrow And Tomorrow bombards you with a disorientating barrage of images, adverts, social media updates and news headlines. The characters that populate this future noir are hardwired to the internet through “adware” in their brains, and Sweterlitsch’s caffeinated prose reflects that. There are echoes of Raymond Chandler and Philip K Dick, but also the sensory overload of John Brunner's Stand On Zanzibar .
Our way into this always-on world is Blaxton. His overwhelming grief and self-destructive streak are at the core of the novel. The dystopian aspects are a little on the nose (hey, did you know that the media loves to sell sex and death?) but it’s well written, and Sweterlitsch proves himself a master of mood.
Will Salmon twitter.com/evilrobotbill
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