Technogenesis

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Technogenesis benefits exceedingly from the “the whole exceeds the sum of its parts” effect. The writing is serviceable, not stellar; the characterization is fine, if not great; the plot flows decently but gets overly convoluted later on. More importantly, the world feels perfectly creepy for the plot, and it is creepy in a way that is becoming ever more relevant for people in densely populated urban environments with proliferating levels of technological infrastructure.

The creepy, eerie feel of the world comes in large part from society’s dependence on the net, and less from the “Beast” hunting the main character. It’s a dystopian vision that snares those in its thralls into not seeing the net they have fallen into, while the have-nots are distinctly aware of everything the haves have given up. Waking up and seeing that society with the eyes of the have-nots, from someone who until recently was a has, is a disconcerting view of the blackberry brambles waiting for us at the end of the slippery slope of modern day technological absorption. (I really shouldn’t be allowed to design metaphors.)

The plot itself flows fairly well, although as the end approaches, the creepiness evaporates as the concepts strain credulity and common sense and self-consistency and the book’s conceit just gets harder and harder to take seriously. Additionally, there are some overly dramatic situations and overly elaborate plots put on by the government spy agencies just because, when a much more direct and less risky strategy would seem totally feasible.

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