Geosynchron (Book Three of the Jump 225 Trilogy)
by David Louis Edelman
Cover Artist: Stephan Martiniere
Review by Sam Lubell
Pyr Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781591027928
Date: 23 February 2010 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
David Louis Edelman's Geosynchron is the third book in the Jump 225 trilogy. While the first two books could be described as cyberpunk after it grew out of its punk phase and went to business school, this one is much less business oriented and deeper into the politics. Taken as a whole, the trilogy is a wonderful refutation of the oft-heard complaint that there is nothing new in science fiction.
In the previous books Natch, a ruthless self-made businessman in the field of bio/logics (computer programs than run inside the human body) is given control of MultiReal, a program that uses multiple realities to find the best option for the user in any situation. But when the governing Defense and Wellness Council, although divided by a power struggle between its leader and his second, want control of the program, Natch flees. Geosynhron begins with Natch captured by a rival fiefcorp (business) run by two brothers who have a way of countering Natch's MultiReal. Meanwhile, Quell, a member of Natch's fiefcorp (and the secret lover of Margaret Surina, the programmer of MultiReal and direct descendent of the original inventors of much of the biologic/multi-network society) is thrown into an orbital prison. He is an Islander, a member of a society that refuses to run internal biologic programs and use external machines instead to access the multi-network.
Meanwhile, Jara, who has taken control of Natch's company in his absence, is being sued by Surina's family. After she loses the case, mainly because Quell testifies that Margaret Surina was behaving strangely before giving MultiReal to Natch's company, Jara accepts a contract from Quell, to advise the Islanders as both factions of the Council have decided to fight their civil war in the Islands where multi cannot be used.
Natch's best friend and his mentor both refuse to go with Jara, instead deciding to search for Natch who is hiding in 49th Heaven, an orbital colony with seven rings that is home to every sin, from gambling to prostitution, to drugs. Here Natch, now calling himself Nohwan, is attacked by a young drug addict. He decides to get rid of all dealers of the drug Chump as an experiment to see if he could shift the culture.
The fascinating part of the trilogy is the character development of Natch. In the beginning he seems completely ruthless. As a child he led a bear to attack his enemy, as fiefcorp master he cheated to give his programs top ratings. But as he suffers from black code attacks, capture, torture, and life on the run, he changes and becomes more sympathetic. While trying to rid a colony of drug dealers would be extremely out of character for the self-centered Natch of Infoquake, the first book in the trilogy, it is believable for the Natch of Geosynchron. This is why the dilemma at the end hits so hard, there is no good choice. And, although a plot driven novel cries out for a resolution – characters in the Golden Age of SF would invent a third option to save the day -- as a novel of character, Geosynchron is more interested in how people react to the dilemma.
Ironically, as Natch becomes more human, Jara, has become, not exactly ruthless, but a little more calculating. This is only natural as Jara is now the head of a corporation with powerful enemies in both government and business. The Jara of the first book would have gone with the others to look for Natch (of course the Natch of the first book would have forced his employees to stay on Earth and work on the new contract, so she's far from Natch-levels of controlling.)
Another interesting aspect of this series is the level of detail. Not only does this come across in the text but there are 50 pages of an appendix with a timeline, glossary, and textual explanations for the different societies in the book – not to mention a summary of the preceding books (something all series need but few actual include).
Geosynchron is the final book in a trilogy. But there is certainly room in this universe for more stories especially to show the outcome of Natch's decision and how a fairly unrestrained free-market society copes with it. Unfortunately, in the afterword, Edelman says he has no plans to write anymore in this universe unless someone pays him a big chunk of money -- I hope someone someday does.
This trilogy is highly recommended, especially for science fiction readers who are willing to take a chance on a character who starts out as an anti-hero or who like very elaborate and well-conceived backgrounds and societies; and especially those who are interested in the future of business. While there is certainly action and exciting scenes, in this book the struggle for control of the government leads to war, ultimately, character development is more important to this book than is mindless action.