Your skepticism doesn’t change the veracity of my story, nor does it have any bearing on my motives. You may think the idea of universal infinity to be nonsense. And I get that. It’s hard to imagine other yous. Out there living their lives. Making better choices. Making worse choices. There’s a universe where you got the girl, got that promotion, and made millions of dollars. There’s another where you lost it all, ended up on the streets, and died cold and alone.
Perion Synthetics is ambitious, especially when compared with Daniel Verastiqui’s prior novel, Veneer. It covers more characters, complexities, and plot twists, all while maintaining the same sense of humor. Verastiqui has a vivid imagination and a knack for realizing complexities in plot and character. Following the story one character at a time, Perion Synthetics imagines a world where Vinestead International has an oppressive grip on the population through its pervasive (and seemingly unavoidable) technology monopoly. Perion Synthetics is the only company with the resources to challenge Vinestead’s dominance. An aggregator (akin to a reporter) is allowed into Perion City for the first time to witness and report on his findings, and things just get crazy from there. That’s about as far as I can get into the story without major spoilers. Some exposition was cumbersome, while other times characters seemed one-dimensional. Fortunately, this does not occur often and does not detract from a fun read. Perion Synthetics is a fast-paced read and is jam-packed with content. It never dulls, never fails to surprise.
A really enjoyable piece of near-future sci-fi. The premise of this book is fairly simple – somewhere in the fairly near future, society has collapsed and rebuilt itself with the addition of the “veneer”, the supposedly innate ability of the people to shape their world to look like whatever they want it to look like. When a young man starts to see underneath the veneer, he starts on a track that leads him to attempt to take down the system. Helping him are his girlfriend and best friend; against him, an entire system of secret agents, plus his childhood nemesis. The main question here is an interesting one. What would the world be like if we could shape it to suit our desires, like we can online now? The veneer is a means of control for the corporations – things look pretty, so no one questions what the world is like without it. A single corrupt company essentially controls the world, and their agents enforce the control using deadly force, if necessary. The young characters are well drawn and strongly motivated, whether they’re good or evil. I do have some issues with how the author treats homosexuality, but overall I was really engaged by the writing and the book as a whole.