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Mercury's Son

Write on: Thu, 31 Aug 2017 by  in Charles' Reviews Be the first to comment! Read 1147

4.5/5

MERCURY'S SON by Luke Hindmarsh is a Blade Runner-esque dystopian science fiction tale about conspiracies, technology, religious fanatics, and a series of gruesome murders. In other words, it is a book that is exactly up my alley. How much did I enjoy it? I enjoyed so much I've read it twice.

The premise is the world has been destroyed by a massive war which has left all of humanity in arcologies where food is rationed, scientists kept under lock and key, plus the government controlled by a pantheist eco-friendly religion called the Temple of the Wounded Mother. The Temple of the Wounded Mother isn't nearly as eco-friendly as it appears, though, as it is a human-hating cult that considers mankind a virus in the same way Agent Smith did. It also makes repairs to the environment nearly impossible as it's Luddite views are incompatible with actually repairing the world's environment.

The protagonist is Valko, a cyborg soldier of the previous regime who lost his memory after a devastating cybernetic attack that left him comatose (where after he was cryogenically frozen) for much of the world's transformation. Valko is left with questions about whether his supposed past is true as well as how the world had become such a horrid parody of itself. He's only got one skill, though, and that's killing. As a result, he finds himself working for the very theocratic government he despises.

While Blade Runner is an obvious inspiration, I'm actually reminded more of the movie version of Soylent Green starring Charlton Heston. There's a lot of focus on the government as well as the moral compromises they've been willing to make in order to prevent another war from occurring. There's also a little bit of 1984, too, as we get several moments where elements of the world we've been introduced to are shown to be completely false.

In this age of alternative facts and competing news cycles (whatever your political affiliation), this book manages to make a applicable point about questioning everything. The fact virtually every side of the story believes completely in their cause makes our protagonist, who believes in nothing but survival, all the more interesting. It's a very morally ambiguous environment and makes use of gritty noir motifs.

Luke Hindmarsh has an excellent grasp of world-building and creates a psychedelic future with its own slang, common food items, and weird values. We come to know everyone from the government, the church, to the men on the street as well as how they react. I was interested in the Temple of the Wounded Mother, especially, because while it's obviously a bad thing--you also see where they're coming from as well as why people follow it. It also causes you to wonder about all the other religions it's destroyed.

Mercury's Son is an excellent novel and one of the better pieces of science fiction I've read this year. I'm not quite sure if this qualifies as cyberpunk but it's certainly in the penumbra around the genre and there were several moments which reminded me of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Neuromancer--which is high praise indeed from a dedicated fan of the genre like myself.

Last modified on Thursday, 31 August 2017 21:35
Charles Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.

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