Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gods Tomorrow

Summary: A good read, and surprisingly good for the $.99 e-book price.  It's a near-future science fiction police procedural set in a big brother setting.  Very Minority-Report-ish.

Gods Tomorrow, by Aaron Pogue, is the type of book that makes me a Kindle convert.  Police procedurals aren't my favorite, I don't know the author, and the cover art is amateurish.  If it had shown up in my local bookstore, I probably wouldn't want to pay full price to take the chance that it might be good.  Since it's just a buck, I can experiment.  And it was a happily worthwhile experiment.

The main character is a successful policewoman in a world where police rely on the Hathor system to show them everything that happened and the Jurisprudence system to evaluate evidence.  When the book begins, she's finally made it to the big time - the FBI  Ghost Targets team.  The team solves crimes involving Ghosts, people who hide from the system, and is the only place where real detective work is still being done.

Like all true science fiction, this book was both a story and an exploration of an what could be.  It does well enough on both counts.

The main character is likable, and the interactions between characters are believable. There's action and deduction, plot twists and no noticeable plot holes - all things I hope for in the genre.  The secondary characters felt a little thin to me, but there's the potential there for more fleshing out as the series grows.

In terms of the idea exploration side of it...Pogue is really trying to explore the outcome of a single concept in this book.  What would the world be like if we continued increasing our surveillance, with conveniences built of computers that have reams of information on us?  His answer is a nuanced one - which I like - rather than a dystopia.  I hope that he continues to flesh out the world a bit more though in later books.  Right now, it's a one-note premise.  Everything outside of his central thesis is identical to our contemporary world.  Realistically, that wouldn't happen.  We'd continue to have changes in political structures, social norms, fashion, medicine, etc. that have nothing to do with Hathor and its ilk.  It's fine that he didn't try to do everything in one book if he wanted to keep the focus on the story, but I hope that he continues to explore the implications of new ideas in future books.

In general, I think there's room for him to improve and am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see if he does, but if he only manages to make a good equally good, it would still have been worth the price.

Other books in the Ghost Targets series:

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