SLANT By Greg Bear – Reviewed

Midway through the 21st century there is a huge reliance on psycho-therapy using nano-technology monitors to keep society sane and well-adjusted.

A billionaire commits suicide after spending an evening with a Yox (latest immersive technology) pornstar and escort.

A man is regularly visiting the Omphalos, a strange building filled with the dead who are waiting to be brought back to life when the technology arrives.

Jill is a Thinker, a massive super intelligent computer.

Mary Choy is a Seattle Police Detective trying to find out the truth about the billionaire’s suicide.

Then people’s therapy monitors start to break down, sending society in a paroxysm of depression and mental instability, a group of criminals plans to invade Ompholas and steal the treasures within, the pornstar is attacked, Jill is hacked, and Mary Choy starts to literally fall apart.

This is what SF is all about. Great ideas and good plotting. The characters are merely there to give us some focus, not really to get attached to. There are some really good ideas, most of which aren’t outdated despite this book being ten years old. The plotting is where the book really shows its strength, as the various separate strands come together in a complex climax. OK, so you can see where most of this is coming from before the end, and there aren’t really any surprises, in fact there nothing really spectacular at all. This is good solid SF, some nice ideas, some good plotting, decent characters, but nothing special, nothing memorable. All the right ingredients, but really nothing to make it stand out.

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