The post-apocalyptic future Earth is unkind to the masses. It’s little like Kevin Costner’s ill-fated Waterworld and Mad Max: Fury Road, well kind of. The world is more of a mix between anime Garganita on the Verdurous Planet without the mechas and Brian Wood’s comic The Massive as an environmental disaster destroys most of the Earth. Land dwelling places to live are scarce the exception of mega-cities or large ship-cities that rule the seas. And the internet is run by one gatekeeper, this is the first novel by author Ren Warom – Escapology.
We meet our protagonists Shock Pao who is a talented hacker, Amiga Tanaka, she’s a cleaner for crime boss Twist Calhoun, and Volk, the techy girl who used to work for the Hive Queens. Hackers working for Twist are getting sick in the “Haunt.” The past comes to haunt Volk as she hides on the land ship Resurrection and putting the entire crew, the families and children on-board the land ship in danger. A rival ship the Ark is hunting them and Volk tells Captain Cassius what is going on. Volk slowly unravels the mystery of the Hive. It’s up to Shock, Amiga, Volk and a rag-team to save the world from Matrix-like virtual world enslavement by the Hive Queens.
I am not a huge fan of cyber-punk genre, but as a debut sci-fi techno thriller Ren Warom builds a neat future world. If you’re not familiar with the genre, you might be confused and frustrated by the cyber-tech mumbo jumbo and slang. The author assumes you know lots of techno buzz words, like The Haunt, Slip, WAMOS, etc. It’s disappointing that I had to read some chapters three times and take notes to figure out what was going on. I would have prefer simple plain English words for myself to visualize the world, the actions and what was going on in my head. But hey, if you like cyber-punk, Tank Girl madness and techno sharks, you should read this.
Paperback Title: Escapology
Author: Ren Warom
Publisher: Titan Books