Plastic Jesus by Wayne Simmons
|Plastic Jesus by Wayne Simmons|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Steve Shayler|
|Summary: Plastic Jesus is a sci-fi thriller that shows a lot of promise but doesn’t quite deliver; the author can write an interesting sci-fi world but the story here is a little patchy.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 320||Date: November 2013|
|Publisher: Salt Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
Johnny Lyon is a computer coding expert spiralling out of control following the death of his lover. Johnny’s colleague Sarah convinces their boss Garcon that he needs Johnny for a project that is perfect for him (creating a virtual reality Jesus) and just might help him to concentrate on something other than his loss. They embark on a project with potentially monumental impact within a world of degradation and violence in a city ruled over by organised crime king pin Paul McBride. Many storylines collide as the project effects more people than Johnny realises.
This is a strongly character led story set within a future city off the coast of the USA. The elements of future technology and society are written well and create an interesting and slightly bleak scene that will inevitably be likened to the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. Within this setting we follow Johnny attempting to come to terms with his loss, a police chief desperate to imprison the mob boss Paul McBride, the mob boss’s drug addicted prostitute daughter, Paul McBride himself, the last remaining priest in the city and a few other characters. Many of these characters are quite absorbing but there are also plenty who are less so due to such a short book attempting to follow so many characters, despite this they all help to flesh out the world that Wayne Simmons has created.
Early on the story manages to be quite poignant with Johnny mourning the loss of his partner and suffering a breakdown as a result of it. I found myself starting to care about a couple of the characters especially Johnny Lyon, who felt like a real person with genuine emotions. Unfortunately this didn’t last and what started as a story with plenty of emotional investment became quite rushed. The different storylines that gradually intertwined were interesting and enjoyable and combined a couple of different genres within the same book (especially successful is the noir crime theme that runs throughout) but the main narrative felt quite patchy.
Although containing some interesting and exciting ideas the storyline felt poorly executed at times and large sections for which a sense of anticipation was created were completely brushed over leaving me feeling quite unfulfilled. For example Johnny’s task of creating a virtual messiah is built up to be an almost monumental one with his skill and dedication being the only reason it might reach fruition, but at the end of one chapter Johnny actually starts work on it and by the next chapter concerning him he has already completed it and is being congratulated on his work. This left me flicking back through pages to check I hadn’t accidentally skipped a chapter. It is understandable that the author may not have wanted to bore the reader with a long description of computer coding but the lack of any narrative of Johnny at work on such a crucial element of the plot made the story feel incredibly disjointed.
Plastic Jesus creates a world of great intrigue and characters that can at times be very absorbing, the atmosphere created within the book and the heightening of emotion within the population of Lark City are really quite effective. Unfortunately the plot has many holes and some of these are a little hard to get over. If the author were to write another story set in the same future society described in this offering I would be intrigued but I would approach it with great trepidation.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick is of a similar world to this and it comes very highly rated, this is how sci-fi should be.
You can read more book reviews or buy Plastic Jesus by Wayne Simmons at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Plastic Jesus by Wayne Simmons at Amazon.com.
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