Thanks to the wonders of modern technology [a book in the post isn't "modern technology" - Ed] Steve Taylor-Bryant read Zero Bomb by M T Hill...
From Philip K. Dick Award-nominated author M.T. Hill, Zero Bomb is a startling science fiction mystery that asks: what do we do when technology replaces our need to work?
The near future. Following the death of his daughter Martha, Remi flees the north of England for London. Here he tries to rebuild his life as a cycle courier, delivering subversive documents under the nose of an all-seeing state.
But when a driverless car attempts to run him over, Remi soon discovers that his old life will not let him move on so easily. Someone is leaving coded messages for Remi across the city, and they seem to suggest that Martha is not dead at all.
Unsure what to believe, and increasingly unable to trust his memory, Remi is slowly drawn into the web of a dangerous radical whose '70s sci-fi novel is now a manifesto for direct action against automation, technology, and England itself.
The deal? Remi can see Martha again - if he joins the cause.
Zero Bomb is a strange book for me because upon finishing, for the first time in a long time, I feel defeated. This may well be a criticism of the book but, on reflection, I feel it’s it’s more than likely a fault within me.
Zero Bomb should have been as enjoyable to me as it was intriguing, it seemed to have everything I was looking for in a story. It had family issues, grief management, tragedy, flawed personal behaviour, post-Brexit dystopia (something a lot of us genuinely fear) as well as some near future tech mixed with almost old-school espionage tropes and for about the first third, perhaps more, the novel was great. Short snappy often one or two word sentences was a structure I’m unfamiliar with but drove the narrative at a fair pace which I enjoyed but then something strange happened. We sort of get to a twist in the tale and then the book changes, or does it? It just felt it was a lot more run of the mill in its style, that snappiness wasn’t there anymore, everything seemed telegraphed and there wasn’t any more shocks to be had.
As I write all this, I fear that I’m treading into “bad review” territory but I don’t mean to, as it was a book of much promise. That first half was incredibly visual, you really felt for Remi, and a fox pisses messages in the carpet for goodness sake, I mean, what’s not to love? However I lost my way a little in the second half of the novel. Maybe I was too tired, perhaps I should’ve read passages earlier in the day instead of late at night. Or maybe I’m not actually smart enough to understand what I was supposed to get from the rest of the story, and that’s fine by the way, I’m more than aware my intellect isn’t what I’d like it to be and if the book suits a smarter audience than me then fantastic because that first half alone demands to be read.
As it is, though, I think I’m going to leave it a couple of months and come back to it in a different frame of mind and see if that helps.
Image & Synopsis - Titan Books
Zero Bomb is published by Titan Books on 19th March