A whopper of a near-future SF mystery…
Set in Near-future, Marsolais’s excellent latest, a sweetly charming, delightedly entertaining tale of a group of people trying to unravel a government conspiracy examines friendship, family ties, and loyalty while probing bigger questions, like a man’s struggle to find completeness and the meaning of life, with abundant, dark humor. After a pandemic and economic collapse, the world has irrevocably changed. Political parties are banned, people can store their thoughts in implants, and the privacy has become a valuable service as people are forced to live close together for security and economic reasons. With his wife dead ages ago, Amir, a 128-year-old retiree, is trying to find completeness in this new world. When the lovely Nora, an integration imaginer, moves next door, Amir finds himself entangled into a dangerous conspiracy that involves the City hall and the Church. The stakes rise as The Ministry of Justice and Reconciliation becomes involved. And there are people who do not want Amir and his friends to dig deeper. Marsolais excels at offbeat storytelling that perfectly suits this delightful futuristic tale. Strange happenings and hilarious scenarios enhance the intelligent plot. But the biggest strength of Marsolais’s writing is his ability to make the fantastic so mundane it’s fantastic again. The original premise and Marsolais’s skill at creating wonderfully exotic futuristic inventions (thought messaging, ReGen treatments: the life-extending therapies, the pets communicating with people through their thoughts, Divine Life virtual reality cradle, the concept of brainwashing or controlling people through their thought messaging and AI implants, the bizarre system of credit points) keep the readers turning pages fast. Marsolais’s eccentric characters are sketched with perception and skill: the ordinary, wonderfully boring Amir, delightfully crooked Zhang lei, the flashy Ranjit, overly paranoid Nora, and the fierce Darwina and Dr. Allan Tattie’s, members of Action Group, a group dedicated to investigating conspiracies and righting wrongs will stay with readers for long after they finish reading the book. The adorable Neep will charm with his doggy-devotion and futuristic way of communication. Marsolais peppers his eccentric characters’ lives with equally eccentric happenings, and in doing so he not only jostles the mind and tickles the funny bone but also makes intelligent sociopolitical observations. Delightful, sympathetic characters and a smoothly paced plot filled with dark humor and political and scientific intrigue make it a must-read for lovers of literary SF mysteries. This is a stunner.
Amir of Guelph
By Albert Marsolais
Marsolais & Twigg Publishing
Pub date September 15, 2020
Price $3.02 (USD) Kindle edition, $13.99 Paperback