Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves
|Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Alex Mitchell|
|Summary: Catcher in The Rye meets Neuromancer in this well-realised, thoroughly depressing tale of teen angst in a world where supermen and robots control everything.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 462||Date: July 2019|
In 2031, genetic engineering and robotics is changing the world at an unprecedented rate, with a regimen known as Revision making people stronger, faster and smarter than ever before. Baseline humanity is slowly being rendered obsolete, with people like 16-year-old Dorian Waters being left by the wayside as these new superhumans dominate the workforce. Without Revision, Dorian can't go to University and can't get a job. And so begins Dorian's slow spiral of self-destruction, robbing houses with his best friend Ethan to pay for his Revision, all the time desperately trying to keep this activity secret from his family. But, with his psychopathic brother already suspicious of him and the police gaining ground, Dorian slowly begins to realise that he's going to have to risk everything to stay ahead...
Our protagonist and narrator is Dorian, a high-school student who turns to housebreaking with his best friend Ethan in order to pay for his Revisions. Part of me really does want to sympathise with Dorian, and he's not without sympathetic qualities, but at the same time his extreme self-centeredness, tendency to blame all his problems on society, obsessive stalking of Lena, and his looking down on others as being stupid make him quite hard to like at times. Ethan isn’t much better, being a cowardly, depressed drug addict who also only thinks about himself. Dorian’s brother Jaden, an undiagnosed psychopath, is a source of constant conflict with Dorian, constantly poking and prodding and making their parents suspicious. It’s certainly brave of Graves to try to write a story with normally unlikeable characters, but Dorian and Ethan may be on their way to redeeming themselves by the end of the book.
The setting of the novel is actually quite interesting, and it does take into consideration how the technology described would impact the world at large. Gene editing and robotics are relatively commonplace, forming the basis of Revision. Revision improves the subject’s physiology, thereby making them superhumanly strong, smart and attractive, thereby rendering ordinary people obsolete. However, this treatment is very expensive, and only the very rich can afford it. Those whose jobs have been taken by machines and the Revised are on a system of basic income, and inflation has become so bad that the dollar has had to be replaced by the Benjamin Franklin (or Benjie) in the same way that the Mark was replaced by the Reichsmark in order to combat hyperinflation in 1920s Germany. In many ways, the realism of the world only adds to the depression factor, since all of this may end up coming true one day.
Overall, this is a well-realised, yet ridiculously depressing tale of teenage angst in a world where supermen and robots have free reign over the world.
Similar books by other authors:
Neuromancer by William Gibson – a classic piece of cyberpunk fiction for adult readers, with a similarly struggling protagonist.
You can read more book reviews or buy Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.