Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mind's Eye

© 2014 Douglas E Richards
362 pages



A man wakes in a dumpster, covered in blood. He has no idea who he is, but there are men trying to kill him.  This dumped stranger isn't completely defenseless, however. he wakes to find the killers' and everyone else's minds wide open to him.  He can read minds, and what's more, his brain has its own wireless connection, allowing him to dive into the internet and pull up any bit of information he needs, all without blinking.    The man soon discovers himself to be the victim of an arrogant bioengineer whose motives are utterly sinister, and the fantastic expansion of his mental abilities will be desperately needed as the man flees and fights mercenaries, false friends, and the US military.  At its best, The Mind's Eye offers a look at the fascinating possibilities and problems that widespread cranial implants could present humanity; at its worst,  the writing veers to the awkward, and the villains indulge in those "I'm about to kill you, so why don't I tell you my ultimate plan?" kinds of speeches.   (The uber-villian's ultimate motive is also wholly unbelievable -- the mad scientist/technocrat unmasks himself as a crusader for a completely unrelated cause, and there's been no hint, not even a shadow, of the other identity. )

The only reason I made it through this novel was the technical concept. I can only hope the characterization and dialogue improve in Richards' later novels..

6 comments:

  1. Stephen, thanks for your honest review. I wonder why editors and publishers give the green light to such questionable efforts. In any case, I have been warned. Thanks for the caveat emptor appraisal.

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  2. Sounds terrible. Kudos for finishing it.

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  3. Stephen,

    An interesting concept mishandled by a inexperienced writer?

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  4. this is not an uncommon theme in sf... cyborgs of one sort or another are fairly ubiquitous... i'm thinking of some A.E Van Vogt's novels...

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  5. Bioengineering and brain science are so interesting. These subjects have so much potential when it comes to fiction.

    It is too bad that the characters and the writing were weak. Sadly, that is sometimes, though not always, the case with such science centered books.

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  6. @Tim Here to serve@

    @Cyberkitten: It was 'vacation' reading for me, so nothing arduous.

    @Fred: Definitely. According to the author's bio he worked in biotechnology before pursuing his dream of writing.

    @Mudpuddle: Cyborgs of one sort or another will be fairly ubiquitous IRl before long, I think..we'll have brain-controlled prosthetic limbs first, then who knows?

    @Brian: It's hard for one author to nail everything just right. As I said, I'm hoping this author improves later. With e-books, though, it's possible for someone to produce digital reams of books and the quality remains stagnant.

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