In 1999, Vinestead International destroyed a worldwide, immersive virtual reality known as The Net in favor of their heavily controlled alternative, VNet. Five years later, the Guardian Angel bill was passed, requiring all newborns and naturalized citizens to be augmented with Vinestead’s proprietary biochip. Shortly after the bill’s passage, the domestic terrorist group Calle Cinco executed 358 Vinestead employees at the company’s headquarters in Sacramento.
In the years that followed, challengers rose and fell, but Vinestead always triumphed.
Now, in the waning months of 2015, a new savior has emerged. James Perion, founder and CEO of Perion Synthetics, stands as the lone warrior on the battlefield. His company has money, influence, and the largest inventory of synthetic humans on the planet. If anyone is going to keep Vinestead International from world domination, it is Perion Synthetics.
There is only one problem: James Perion is dying.
As the future crumbles, the world looks for answers. It falls to the three largest media feeds in the country—Banks Media Productions, Lincoln Continental, and The White Line—to ask the tough questions. To do so, they must find a way to get their aggregators into Perion City, a secluded and heavily guarded beta test operating in the wastes of the California desert.
What they discover will change the face of the Vinestead War forever.
John S Roth – 4/30/2016 – 4 Stars
Thought provoking, captivating, engaging and quite well written! Overall a very good story, one I can easily recommend!
Pheel – 4/17/2016 – 3 Stars
Can Synthetic Humans Exist Without Being an Underclass?
Perion Synthetics is a book that raises some interesting questions involving synthetic life living alongside “real” life. There is a faint flavor of “I, Robot” in parts of this, but this story definitely goes its own way.
The time period of this book is unique; there are all sorts of advanced devices around (including the Synthetics), yet the year is 2015. As you read further, you see that the story deals in an alternate time line, and that it is definitely not “our” 2015. The technology is more advanced, and things have happened that in no way match our world.
The book is written in sections, each from the point of view of one of the main characters. For the most part, each section covers the same few days time period, although each section is not really a retelling of the same story. We find out other background stories, motivations, and quite a few surprises in each section. In the end, not everyone is who we thought they were, and motivations, whether for good or ill, are not exactly what we thought.
The basic premise is that Perion Synthetics is a tech company designing and some say perfecting synthetic humans. The concept, one that is familiar in such books, is that they are designed to live and work alongside human, doing the jobs that human don’t want to do, or too dangerous for them to do. Perion has been working in a closed city of its own making, so much of what they have been doing is not in the public eye. An overriding question within the book is whether humanity is ready for such a thing as synthetic humans.
The press, or the information gatherers of our society, are not painted well in this book. Most of what happens that is bad comes from one of three “Aggregators” (reporters). One has been invited in to put a good face on Perion before they release their products, one essentially breaks in to the city, and the third is a long-term mole that has been a “leak” for quite some time.
The multiple points of view are interesting, but sometimes it becomes difficult to remember what the other characters were doing around the same time, since the author (purposely) does not go back over the same ground. Because of the sections structure, pacing is uneven, where lots of things might be happening at one point, and dragging at another.
There is a lot of private soul-searching by the characters, and that tends to make the story drag somewhat. Also, it almost seems like the author didn’t like how the story was ending, so he revved things up again so he could bring about a better conclusion.
Overall, there are some interesting questions for the reader to answer, and not everything is resolved by the end, though it is NOT a cliffhanger in any way. It also didn’t feel like there is another book in the series coming. It just feels like the author just wants to give the reader something to think about. I don’t know, and nowhere is this mentioned, but it does feel like there are earlier books in the series from some things that were mentioned. This seems like a good stand-alone book, but references to earlier action do abound.
The main reason I didn’t rate the book higher is because of the feeling of slow pace and tacked-on happenings near the end. I was ready for the book to book before the author was. The writing is very good, though, and I think the author has done well. It is an enjoyable read, even with the slow and muddy ending.
S.A. McInnis – 03/02/2016 – 5 stars
Great extrapolation of today’s media and Artificial Intelligence
Reminescent of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. Great extrapolation of today’s media and Artificial intelligence. I think this guy is a great new talent and look forward to reading more of his work. Highly recommend.
Amazon Customer – 10/29/15 – 5 Stars
A well executed, well edited, fluidly written, difficult to put down, pleasure to read.
Candyce “doll lady” – 4/25/2015 – 3 stars
future with lots of tech and humanoid robotic creations….
TYRONE 091209 – 4/1/2015 – 5 Stars
FANTASTIC MIND CANDY
This book grabbed my attention from beginning to the end. It was as if I was watching a great movie in my mind. The author made me feel the chacters and the high tech environment. I recommend this book to your readers
DJ – 9/27/2014 – 4 Stars
Quite a ride!
Perion Synthetics explores the core of a company intent on producing the ultimate android. No one is who they seem to be, often not even what the[y] seem to be, human or “synthetic”. Interestingly, the dates are current but the places and political structures are sometimes the same as reality and sometimes not. It all keeps you on your toes. The rating is a four rather than a five simply because the author sporadically assumes you have read and remembered his previous books, which is a bit annoying but not nearly enough to spoil the excellent story.
Timothy Thomas – 7/16/14 – 5 Stars
I’ve read all of the books in the Vinestead Universe and Perion Synthetics is definitely my favorite. Verastiqui’s books inhabit the same universe, but stand alone and can be read in any order. I’d recommend starting with this one.
In Perion Synthetics we get a very fast paced sci-fi story stuffed with action. The enigmatic head of synthetic human development company is rumored to have cancer and be unwilling to be treated. Several news reporters get into Perion’s massive beta test. A huge utopic city populated by androids living with humans. Cooking their food, picking up their garbage, and raising their children. There are multiple people within and without the city looking to exploit the founder’s illness for their own ends.
Explosions, gun fights, and heads being ripped off make for a very quick read. But as with his previous books, the ideas behind that action are also fascinating. We start out with fairly simple ideas of robots as servants, and the rights of robots, but move quickly into human aspirations. Robots as augmentation. Robots as immortality. Robots as warrior saviors.
All of this takes place in a world saturated and motivated by media. With implanted streams that go right into our brains. It takes place in more or less the present day in some alternate universe and even though some of the tech feels like it’s a few years out, it seems very plausible. This feels like speculative fiction.
I definitely recommend taking a chance on this one.
Todd Pruner – 6/16/14 – 4 Stars
The Possible Future
Really enjoyed this book by Daniel Verastiqui. The future Verastiqui paints is one that feels not far from the realm of the possible. Of course this future world is still controlled by two super-corporations, but simulated human technology has begun to blur the lines between the artificial and the real. The book brings up fascinating ethical questions that could arise as machines become more and more like living beings. As the plot moves forward it becomes more and more apparent that at some point mankinds’ creations could begin to operate outside of the control of humans, and it’s a scary but interesting world to consider.
I’ve read Verastiqui’s other books, and I really like how he ties the characters, corporations, and events to each other from book to book. One can easily begin to believe the the mega-corporations of tomorrow could easily look like Vinestead and Perion Synthetics.
Manoj – 6/15/14 – 3 Stars
(Disclaimer: Daniel provided me with a free advanced copy for feedback and review purposes.)
To start with, I really appreciate receiving an advanced copy from the author. That was a first for me since I signed up with the program on Goodreads. On to the book review…
I thought that Verastiqui created an interesting story line and developed the characters well. There were many times while reading it that I had a tough time putting the book down. It was an interesting concept: a great innovator is dying and tries to build a replacement that he can transfer his mind into. I liked this part of the book.
What I didn’t like was how quickly the characters bought into some of topics brought up in the book. There were times that the characters made 180 degree shifts in beliefs without the turmoil that usually comes with it. It frustrated me that they changed their deep down beliefs without any concerns. At one point, one of the characters tries to kill the other and without any ‘making up’, they work together at the end. Personally, I have a tough time believing that someone that tried killing me a half hour earlier, can now be my best friend if there wasn’t something else that happened in the middle. That was a tough thing for me to get over and the only reason I dropped down the rating.
Overall, it was worth a read and if you can get over some of the major shifts I mentioned, it was an enjoyable read.
Matthew Prasse – 5/16/14 – 4 Stars
Fast paced techno book allows you to feel half a dozen hearts
Really Enjoyed this book. It has great pacing, as fast as the technology that drives this world, snappy as a keyboard. The way this book moves through the story is unique; as you leap frog through the story, the author tricks you, deceives you, then hands you what you knew the whole time. ½ Mystery, ½ Cyberpunk. Bladerunner meets Foundation. The characters are real, lively and snarky. There’s humor in here, in there’s some horror. For a moment I thought there was going to be a zombie apocalypse. Moreover, its well written. I’m a big fan of Michael Moorcock’s long winded weaving of linguistic tapestries that stop the story where it’s at while the scene is created… That’s not happening here. Technology doesn’t have time for you to look around, you better take it in as you move, and that’s exactly what the author produces. The ending felt a little chopped, but probably because I wanted more. Good job, off to try another.
Kyle – 4/7/2014 – 4 Stars
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I wouldn’t normally choose a sci-fi, but I am glad that I took the time to read this one. It is interesting to think about the future and the possibility of having eternal life in a man-made body! I’m not sure I like the idea, but reading about it was okay. Also growing baby robots sounds crazy! If you are into sci-fi and future humanoids, this book is definitely for you.
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
Dennis Nuel – 4/27/2014 – 4 Stars
6 parts and 6 codas: lots of action and suspense
I really liked this book. There’s quite a bit of fighting/violence and some “bad” language. There was less sex in this book than his prior novels, and the sex is not disturbing. There’s even a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “infinity between zero and one.” (Xronicle)
Daniel expertly weaves a tale in 6 parts (and 6 afterwards/codas). Each part is from the focus of a major character from invited outsider, to uninvited outsider, and finally to insiders of the happenings of Perion Synthetics, the major rival of the evil Vinstead corporation we’ve read about in his previous novels. Because of this, we’re left with several questions as we read along: “What’s happening?”, “Who’s in charge here?”, “But I thought…”
Set in 2015/2016 in an alternate reality, the events of Perion Synthetics take place 11 years after the short story Guardian Angels and 17 years after Xronicle. (Veneer takes place 130 years in its future.) The events in Guardian Angels weigh more on the plot than Xronicle does. Neither are required reading for Perion Synthetics; I would recommend reading the Guardian Angels short story if you get a chance.
Perion has been perfecting humanoid robots, called synthetics, which are difficult to distinguish from actual humans. He’s kept the progress hidden from outside view in the legally autonomous Perion City.
When news of Perion’s impending death leaks out, Cameron Gray, a news aggregator from Banks Media, is invited to visit Perion City (or PC) and broadcast news of his findings.
KirbyLane7 – 4/21/2014 – 5 Stars
Verastiqui has outdone himself
In short, Perion Synthetics is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Verastiqui paints a not-too-distant future where your smart phone is embedded in your wrist, the word “feed” has become a transitive technoverb, and synthetic humanoids indistinguishable from you and I roam freely. Typical sci-fi tropes? On the surface, perhaps, but Verastiqui delves deeper into technological and political issues that you’ll find a little too familiar with what modern media is becoming.
The story centers on the titular company and a cast of characters that weave a story of deceit, espionage, death, and other fast-paced plot elements I’ll leave tacit as not to spoil anything. To describe this book as a “page turner” would be a grave understatement. Curious if the author will address what will inevitably happen “behind closed doors” between fallible humans and synthetic beings of the opposite sex? The only answer you’re going to get from me is “you’re just going to have to read it for yourself.”
If you’re familiar with the Verastiqui oeuvre, his storytelling elements in this book are omnipresent yet surprisingly fresh: wry humor, unapologetic grittiness, remarkable depth of character writing, loss of love and its ersatz replacement, rampant technology, and the megacorporation therein that may-or-may-not control all the information.
If Perion Synthetics were to be compared to a film, it would be Blade Runner – written by Lars von Trier and directed by Sam Peckinpah. A by-the-book sci-fi story this is not; Verastiqui is a master of the cyber-punk genre and I dare anyone that knows Asimov from Orwell to disagree.
GregAusTex – 4/21/2014 – 5 Stars
Great read! This is the 3rd+ in a series that I’ve been enjoying immensely. I think this is the best book yet purely based on the storytelling and the entertaining and real personalities participating in the author’s unfolding story. The story as told is a perfect melding of broad revolutionary ideas with a collection of flawed limited and self-oriented mere individuals. The series began as an exploration of virtual reality and how the barriers between the virtual and real world might blur and what the human impact could be and has slowly and perhaps inevitably come to include the idea of artificial intelligence and cybernetic life. Great twists, lots of suspense, not easy to put down.
Travis Holmes – 4/20/2014 – 4 Stars
Exciting and unpredictable
Daniel Verastiqui has an obsession with giving his characters great big heaping gobs of amazing technology, and then watching them screw themselves with it. Perion Synthetics takes that to a new level.
James Perion, the Steve Jobsian titan of business and technology that built the world’s most innovative producer of synthetic humanoids from the ground up, is dying. And his life’s work is not yet done. The people closest to him all jockey for position while reporters from the world’s largest media houses each find different means to infiltrate the ultra-secret Perion City so they can find out just how far this dying man has gone toward the creation of truly synthetic life. It’s an exciting and unpredictable story with a large cast of characters, human and otherwise, that brings us back to the Vinestead universe of Daniel Verastiqui’s previous works. Check it out.
Jen Doyle – 4/19/2014 – 5 Stars
Interesting concept, intricate plot, great characters, fabulous dry humor, and plenty of action. The general idea is a somewhat familiar one in sci-fi, but this was a different, fresh take on the idea of artificial intelligence that I found quite thought-provoking.
I really like how this book is tied in to Verastiqui’s previous writings without technically being a sequel- the books take place in the same universe, and there are a few nods to previous books, but I don’t feel it’s necessary to have read the others to understand this one. He gives just enough background detail for a first-time reader to visualize the world- there wasn’t that “recap” section in the beginning I felt like I could skip like in other serial novels.
I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Without giving spoilers, one of my favorite things about this author’s writing is that the characters seem real. They are flawed, insightful, altruistic, selfish, and complicated. It’s never immediately obvious who the “good guys” are, because every character has both good and questionable morals. Because the characters are rich and realistic, their actions (or the things that happened to them) were often surprising while still fitting logically with the storyline.
I thought the pacing and shifting perspectives were very nicely done in this novel. Several of the sections ended with a cliffhanger. The sections that followed tended to slow the pace a bit to give more backstory, and then quickly got back to the resolution of the previous section. I managed to avoid skimming ahead (as I usually do) to find out “what happened to so-and-so” because each character shift was so interesting.
I highly recommend this book- the writing will draw you in, it’s highly entertaining, and the concept is fascinating!
Jane Howard – 4/16/2014 – 5 Stars
An imaginative page-turner
Perion Synthetics is about robots, well really, a possible future world sprinkled with synthetic humans. It is also a story about secrets of a great corporation and the intergenerational change of leadership in a tightly held company.
Just as it is a reality in 2014 to take Google autonomous cars without a human touching the controls as it drives from city to city, some of the robots in this book are entirely plausible, and could be logical extensions of stories we read about in today’s news.
But then you turn a page and you have crossed into the implausible – these are state of the art augmentations and future synthetic human models. Buck Rogers space travel was equally unbelievable in 1928. Who is to say whether Verastiqui’s story is not the future path taken by research in artificial intelligence and material science when we look backward a hundred years from now?
Each of six main characters is introduced in depth. As you read along, a complex multi-dimensional story emerges as you see the plot from each of the different perspectives. I accepted the story from Cameron’s point of view, until I read Cynthia’s and so on. It was like looking through a hexagon windowed display in a museum. The new angles allowed the reader to comprehensively see the complete story.
Knowing there is no sequel yet and coming to the end of the story, ordinarily the reader might feel let-down, a bit like post partum blues, but not here. The author has kindly provided the antidote and frosting on the cake, by dishing up a coda for each character so you know what happens to them after the story concludes.
Ian Haggard – 4/16/2014 – 5 Stars
Explore Verastiqui’s universe from a new, fresh angle
Once again, Verastiqui has written a book with interesting characters who guide us through a believable and compelling exploration of the societal implications of technological progress. Thought-provoking and enjoyable!
Billy Moran – 4/16/2014 – 5 Stars
Before you buy a synthetic human, read this book
This story covers so much ground thoughtfully — and quickly. The future of news media, the power of big business, the social impacts of technology, the morality of immortality, the enduring nature of love… they all factor into this fast-paced action movie of a novel.
Based on a foundation of highly advanced (yet accessible for the reader) technology, Verastiqui quickly establishes both the characters and the world they live in with clever dialog and enough description to visualize the scenes without bogging down in detail. Few characters are who they appear to be initially – some of them aren’t even human! Throw in enough plot twists to keep your mind churning on what’s going to happen next during the times when you are actually able to put the book down, and Perion Synthetics is definitely worth a read.
James Winborn – 4/16/2014 – 5 Stars
Great sci-fi book set in a world not far from our own
Perion Synthetics is a gripping story that combines a lot of the best of alternative/cyberpunk-esque worlds while touching on subjects that aren’t too far from current events. There are business moguls making bad (far-reaching) decisions, government mandated corporate medical procedures, journalists scrambling to get some sort of story out however they can, and groups trying to restore the sanity they believe has been lost through the years. Add in some questions about how things will be handled in a post-singularity world, explosions and synthetic creations that are far beyond the uncanny valley, and you’ve got a great read.
Easily my favorite sci-fi work by the author so far.
Justin Ellis – 4/16/2014 – 4 Stars
Perion Synthetics is a great read
If you are not familiar with the author, then I would highly recommend checking out the latest addition to his collection. It is masterfully written, thoughtfully put together, and the chapter arrangement is a refreshing change from your standard “near future” fiction.
I would eagerly recommend this to both new comers and die-hards alike, I won’t spoil anything for you, but let’s just say you’re in for a treat!
Lauren Ellis – 4/14/2014 – 5 Stars
Daniel Verastiqui’s best book yet
I have read a couple of his books before, and was graced with an advanced copy. Perion Synthetics is his best book yet. He follows different characters, giving you a well rounded view of the futuristic world through many different lenses, leaving you frantically reading for more, unable to put the book down.
Throughout the whole book, you are not only entertained with an interesting story, but left with a nagging thought of what is truly a human soul vs artificial intelligence, and what are its rights. I have dismissed such conversations before, but Perion Synthetics presents some realistic issues we may face in the not too distant future.
For those needing to know more specifics for youths reading it: There is explicit language, sex, and violence. This may not be a book for people under 16. But for science fiction readers who don’t mind that like I do, this book is a great read. I recommend it for anyone’s library.
Roo fan 10 – 4/14/2014 – 4 Stars
Pleasantly surprised non-techie
Let me begin by conceding that I do not often read hi-tech science fiction novels. I do enjoy a wide variety of fiction, including fantasy, so I hope my input will be helpful nevertheless.
I received an advance copy of this book, and did not know what to expect. As a newbie to this genre, I was pleasantly surprised. Though I wasn’t familiar with many of the “hi-tech” terms, the author did an excellent job interweaving his explanations within his text without slowing down the flow of the book.
His characters are engaging and they caught my interest enough that the deeper philosophical/social issues the author delves into completely blindsided me. It was a positive effect. I won’t spoil anything, but he uses a story about synthetic humans and computer augmentations to question larger ethical issues in media reporting, government control, and technological warfare (e.g. Drones, weapons of mass destruction, etc.).
These issues do not weigh down the text, and the author uses a fair share of snide humor to keep the interpersonal relationships from being overshadowed. There’s even a little love for all of us romantics out there.
All in all, The only thing I found lacking from the text was a cogent reason why someone would want to undergo technological augmentations on themselves when it leaves a person so susceptible to someone else controlling those augmentations. That might be an issue he deals with in one of his other books though (which I’ve since learned all are set in the same “universe”).
The book is entertaining and worth a read.
ForrestC53 – 4/14/2014 – 5 Stars
Fascinating twist on an old theme
The idea of robots and humans coexisting in some crazy future isn’t new. But this book explores some of the more interesting social implications that this would mean if it were really to occur. And it does this, all while including plenty of action and Verastiqui’s trademark willingness to bring up the taboo.
I’ve read both of the author’s previous books and was able to get an advanced copy of this one.
There is fighting (lots of fighting), espionage, and the threat of genocide woven throughout the book.
Nelson Kerr – 4/3/2014 – 4 Stars
Verastiqui is back and better than ever . . .
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Perion Synthetics, this soon to be released novel set in the Vinestead series. While this latest release is a stand alone novel, like those that have come before it, readers familiar with his earlier work will notice references to familiar names, places and entities. None of these references though take away from Perion Synthetics in any way or slow the momentum of this newest addition to Verastiqui’s mythos.
You’ll find the same strong character development that marked his earlier novels and a story that quickly pulls you in and builds in momentum all the way through the conclusion. Be prepared to read large swathes at once as there are few good points to stop and catch your breath once you’ve gotten started.
Perion Synthetics takes a much more hard science fiction approach to a number of key elements of the story. Verastiqui’s vision for our near future is both startling in it’s complexity and in the very believable possibility that many of the things that his characters take for granted as parts of their daily lives, may easily find their way off the pages and into our own in the not so distant future. It is this perhaps more than anything that distinguishes this novel from some of his earlier work.
Having read each novel in the Vinestead collection, I can honestly say, I can’t wait for the next installment.
Pearce Barry – 4/2/2014 – 5 Stars
(Disclaimer: I was given an advanced copy of Perion Synthetics for feedback and review)
Set in the not-too-distant-future, this latest novel from Daniel Verastiqui takes the reader on an exciting ride! Accommodating elements of science fiction, action, drama, and humor, the author creates a riveting story with excellent twists and turns, leaving nary a dull moment. Numerous times I found myself doing the “Wow, I can’t stop there, I need to read the next chapter!” dance. Additionally, the content and style of the book does an admirable job of satiating a sci-fi fan like myself while maintaining an accessibility for the more casual reader.
So what’s causing subbers to push the Perion City feeds through the ratings roof? Find out in Perion Synthetics!
Rita VanDerwerken – 4/1/2014 – 5 Stars
What a privelage it was to receive an advanced copy of this book for review purposes.
Daneil Verastiqui hit another impressive home run with this book, I could not put it down as the story twists and characters kept my eyes glued to the pages.
His dynamic ability to paint a vivid picture with words came through clearly in his latest novel.
Cannot wait for his next adventure.
Curtis VanDerwerken – 4/1/2014 – 5 Stars
What an amazing book… I was lucky enough to be provided an advanced copy of the book and it did not disapoint!
Not to give anything away, but by plot twist #12 I decided to stop trying to predict how this story would play out and just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Cannot wait to see what Daniel writes next!
Ray Hyde – 3/29/2014 – 5 Stars
i won this book from goodreads….. and im so glad i did
i didnt want to put this book down! the plot is awesome (with twist) the characters are great
this is the type of book i love .. you can see the story play in your head as you read and its one heck of a read!! his writing is amazing.. its hard for me to say something with out spoilers.. i dont want to give anything away….. can’t wait to read more from Daniel Verastiqui.. the world he created in this book is great!! pick this one up ASAP
Jared Kuolt – 3/25/2014 – 4 Stars
(Disclaimer: Daniel provided me with a free advanced copy for feedback and review purposes.)
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.
White Rabbit – 2/27/2014
I just finished a 50-page sample of this novel, and I have to say that I was disappointed I couldn’t keep going! The writing is crisp and highly polished, and the story hooked me right away. I’m definitely looking forward to finishing the story.