In the 22nd century, augmented reality is no longer a novelty, but rather a way of life for citizens of Easton. Children are taught at a young age to control the ubiquitous layer of reality known as veneer through a process called reconciliation. Those who learn to reconcile live in a constant state of redefinition, of the world and of themselves. Those who struggle are forced to stand by and watch the world change without them.
For this skill, there are no shortcuts, no special glasses or handheld devices. The power to change comes from within.
Deron Bishop wants to live in the augmented world, to perform the magic of reconciliation like his peers, but controlling the veneer has always been a problem for him. Already resentful of the one thing he could never master, Deron doesn’t realize how much he needs the veneer until a violent run-in with a childhood rival puts him in the hospital and robs him of his virtual sight.
Now able to see the world as it truly exists, Deron must choose to abandon Easton or fight his way back to the veneered fantasy of his previous life—a fight not everyone wants him to win.
I had zero expectations going into this book. It had been sitting on my Kindle for ages and I remembered nothing about it. Anyway, I’m glad I started reading because it’s FANTASTIC.
A lot of SF theses days seems to congregate around certain themes and tropes, but Veneer is something very different indeed. It takes an emerging idea (augmented reality) and runs with it into the distant future. The writing is really tight, the story grips you right from the start, the characters are fully realized, and the central conceit of the book (which I won’t spoil by going into) is very, very smart.
Highly recommended. – David Gaughran
Original cover artwork by Jonathan M. Foerster. atleastwedream.com