AUTHOR: Lauren Beukes
Having read and enjoyed this author's The Shining Girls, I decided to read her others and I'm glad I did.
Told through the viewpoints of four characters, this is a scary story about a near-future world. Set in South Africa, the story focuses on new tech and how it can be used to control people. Disrupters in phones that are controlled by the police. Experimental nanotech that can become part of a person and give them cravings for the products produced by the tech's sponsor. Tech that we've come to depend on can be turned against us in an instant. Kendra, an up-and-coming photographer/artist opts for the new nanotech, hoping it will enhance her artistic expression. Toby, a slacker/gamer, spends his time looking for his next high and the breaking news he can record and broadcast that will make him famous. Tendeka, part of the underclass, wants to end corporate oppression while helping street kids. And Lerato, a corporate programmer, has ambitions of her own.
Toby is the connection to the others: friend to Tendeka, friend and sometimes lover to Lerato, acquaintance of Kendra. As they weave into and out of each other's lives, through Beukes's sure prose, the feeling of tension slowly builds to a chilling climax, sparked by Tendeka's growing involvement in a protest movement, his actions increasing in risk and danger, and pushing at the controlling entities until they push back. This book is almost too close to current reality to be called science fiction. More accurately, it can be considered a cautionary tale, a warning of where society is heading.