Editor's note: Please don't haul me off in an unmarked van for running this review (or worse, one plastered with corporate logos). I'm a happy and loyal consumer of brand name goods, honest. Take Jim Munroe instead. He's the one who wrote Everyone in Silico. He's the one who edited Adbuster's Magazine. He's the enemy of all that's good for profit...not me. - editor
Every generation discovers certain things for itself. Sex, greed, good, evil, art...bicycles.
Canadian Jim Munroe set's his third novel, Everyone in Silico, in the not too distant Vancouver of 2036 where everyone is uploading themselves to "Frisco", a virtual city built in cyberspace after San Francisco crumbled under an earthquake. Well, almost everyone. Upgrading to "Self" costs money, unless you opt for one of the cheap free packages, where you're constantly bombarded with virtual advertising through every sense. What you want is to go Platinum, where you can port from any location, block out all the ads, be what you want to be, see what you want to see. That's so-so-so (cool).
What's so special about Everything in Silico? I mean, aren't there enough stories out there about corporate futures or humanity abandoning a trashed Earth for cyberspace? Didn't we read Circuit of Heaven (sfrevu review) or seen The Matrix? Haven't we ever read William Gibson or Neil Stephenson? For Pohl's sake! Haven't we read Space Merchants? Well, yeah, we have, and we highly recommend all that...but Munroe brings a real sense of countering corporate culture to his writing that separates his work from the cyberpunk pack. Jim Munore is like a young William Gibson, only funnier, and his writing keeps getting better instead of more boring. In most cyberpunk, the characters are either corporate drones or hacker rebels, in Silico, nobody is that simple. Munroe accepts our addiction to the over stimulation of manufactured reality, cyber or not, but he struggles against it anyway.
The story follows a cast of characters in and out of Frisco as Munroe makes his case.
So, Paul wants to shake things up. Nicky wants to make cool animals and dig the Vancouver scene. Doug wants to make everybody happy and get rid of his nagging self-doubt. Eileen wants to find Jeremy, even if it means putting on the enhanced reality suit that has already cost her her youth. Jeremy just wants to have fun, and fun is what we get to have reading the book.
Everyone in Silico is recommended to every consumer clone out there. You have nothing to lose but your comfort. It's also recommended to you anti-globalization-corporation-establishment types...and anyone who thinks cyberpunk is a tad too dreary and self serving.
Want to know more about fighting consumer sloth and the corporate reality? Take the AdBusters Corporate Crackdown Tour: http://adbusters.org/campaigns/corporate/