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Jen Doyle – Perion Synthetics

Fantastic story-telling!

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!

Recent Reviews

An unexpected gem. 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. Related

David Gaughran – Veneer

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. Related

Scott Graber – Perion Synthetics
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