Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Moxyland

After reading and loving Zoo City, I bought Lauren Beukes' first book, Moxyland.

In a world not that much different from our own, people depend on their phone a lot more than we already do. It contains their ID and with that, their access to such basic things as public transport, access to their homes, money ect. Criminal activities are punished by a temporary disconnection from the service or even a permanent one. And since people always carry their phones, someone came up with the clever idea to install a taser into them - not for self-defence, but to shock the owner of the phone in case he or she is doing something illegal. A Defuse, as it's called.

The book follows a handful of characters over a couple of days, a fiercly hip blogger, someone who agrees to become a mobile advertisement for a soft drink in exchange for cutting edge nanotech, a freedom fighter, a corporate drone with a decidedly anarchistic streak. Their lifes intersect and influence each other, even though some of the characters never meet.

It's a bleak vision of a not so distant future, but at the same time it's a wild ride through conspiracies and secrets where nothing is quite what it seems. There are a few things that I would love to see for real in Moxyland and I just might, like the coat that displays videos and photos or even a live feed. There are more things that I never want to see, but I'm afraid I might, like the taser-phones or the genetically engineered Marburg virus sprayed on protesters who have to turn themselves in to get treatment.

Beukes took much of her inspiration from actual events, definitely read the afterword for her explanation of her sources. And this is exactly what makes Moxyland such a great book, the possibility that we may end up in a world exactly like this. We're definitely aready on our way.

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