Essays

Book Review: Re-Wired by Greg Dragon

Re-WiredRe-Wired by Greg Dragon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BLURB:

He created the perfect woman but will he lose his soul in the process?

Robotics student Brad Barkley has created the perfect woman. The only problem is she’s an android, and her creator realizes too late he may have made her too perfect. After Brad’s ultimate failure with women nearly consumes him, he discovers Tricia, his android, may be able to rescue him from a life of loneliness, if he and the human race are willing to pay the price.

REVIEW:

Re-Wired tells the story of a lonely, disillusioned young man who tries to set right the wrongs in his life by creating the perfect android woman. Of course, things don’t go as planned and Brad must face reality and the consequences of his actions.

The idea and accompanying social commentary (human beings’ relationship to technology, mistrust of robots/androids/AI) are not new as we’ve seen them before in other stories, TV shows, and movies. I won’t go into a discussion on those issues, but I will say I appreciated that the novel raised them as I did consider points of view I hadn’t before.
The strengths of the novel are in the relationship between Priscilla and Brad (which is also where the story gets most interesting), and when Tricia (android) has the narrative floor to herself. In the latter case, it was a pleasure to see her process human behaviour and draw her own conclusions, sometimes as a slave to her programming and others times as an enlightened, self-directed entity. Tricia is both a child and a woman, and she comes off as vulnerable, victimized, gentle, caring, confused and, eventually, strong. Priscilla is a dynamic character who lifts and drives the novel’s energy. In fact, I enjoyed reading these characters more than of Brad himself, who I found not overly interesting or sympathetic, and his dialogue often felt unnatural.

I also enjoyed the ‘twist’ in the story, though I did see it coming. It took the novel from a straight forward science-fiction story to something that bordered on fantasy. The only issue I had is that the blurred lines between reality and fantasy (psychosis) aren’t fully resolved so that I finished the story feeling confused.
Lastly, the story felt short and, for a science-fiction story, it needed more detail both about the technology as well as the world in which it takes place. There is an epilogue that explains the social context and history, but it would have been better to have woven those details into the narrative so that the reader has a more immersive experience. I wanted a closer inspection of the devices, programming and materials which make Tricia appear real enough to pass as a human. Playing up the contrast between her android and human self would have added another dimension to the character as well as the psychological dilemma Brad faces.

Thanks to Mr. Dragon for providing a copy of the book to review.

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Stories

Going Home-flash fiction

Okay, so I decided to have a little fun and go back to a writing prompt site that has helped me over the hump when I needed inspiration. In case you’re interested, you can find the link here: http://storyaday.org/ (Note: My intro to flash fiction and the shorts found in the Other Writing section were birthed there). Anyway, moving on…

The Prompt

Tell The Story Of A Journey

Use any transportation technology you can dream up, but include details to allow us to see, feel and perhaps even choke on the atmosphere.

Don’t forget to make something happen, and then resolve it (or leave it unresolved).

Give us a character we can root for (or against).

sun3

Going Home

It’s dark. The walls are so close, just wriggling brings my skin in contact with them. And it’s damn hot, temperature increasing by the second. Each touch sizzles, and sweat beads on my skin, further burning the blistering patches. My mouth is so dry; my tongue sticks to the roof.

Where am I?

Review: it’s dark. And hot. I’m hovering off the floor in closed quarters. I’m moving through space. Can’t hear it, cuz you can’t hear sound in space. But I can sense it.

Never took a trip in my life, but now I’m moving through space in a tin can. I know the ones. I saw them, lined up like metal cigars, right before the launch. Expensive, silver tubes designed to hurtle though space—

Headed for my final resting place. The place where the undesired, unfit, and unwanted are sent. No good to society, we are just mouths to fill when there is not enough food or water. Rivers nearly dry, mud-pits all.

One strike was all it took to buy my ticket on this metal coffin.

Flying through space toward that glowing ball. To Sol, the giver of life. To Sol, the Reaper of mine.

The heat is unbearable now. Blisters burst. Hair shrivels and disintegrates. The smell, unbreathable.

Unbelievable pain.

Choking. Eyes tearing.

Hotter and hotter, still.

Last breath. Just a wheeze.

My last stop.

There is no getting out of Hell.

D.Forde (July 10, 2013)