reviews

The Blind Spot (Neon Horizons #1) by Michael Robertson Book Review

Write on: Mon, 21 Feb 2022 by  in Charles' New Reviews Read 408

4.5/5

THE BLIND SPOT by Michael Robertson is a cyberpunk political thriller, which is rare enough among the genre but particularly interesting here because the focus of the book isn't on the action or plot twists but the characterization. While I wouldn't say this is a slice of life drama as there is an important plot our characters are unraveling, I'd go so far to say that it isn't the real strength of the book. Instead, I would say the best part of the book is its ability to bring its unique setting alive and get into the minds of its protagonists.

The premise is there are two parts of a community in the future: Scalia City and the Blind Spot. Scalia City is a corporate-run utopia where everyone knows their place as well as life continuing on much as it has always done. Cybernetics are disdained and almost everyone is addicted to an app that registers how much people talk about you. The Blind Spot is a much wilder independent part of the city that is full of cyborgs, criminals, outcasts, and transhumanists. Scalia City hates the Blind Spot but uses it for pleasure as well as fears its superior mastery of computers.

The protagonists couldn't be more far apart with Marcie being the daughter of a career criminal raised in the lap of luxury. Marcie wants out of the Blind Spot, though, in part because she's sick of living her father's shadow and also because she hopes to get her crippled friend a new pair of lungs. Nick, by contrast, is an overweight office drone who is trapped in a one-sided relationship with his girlfriend as well as pathetically eager to please.

Both of them become involved in a series of terrorist attacks against Scalia City that seem to point squarely to the anarchist-subculture of the Blind Spot. It is a strange idea that two parts of the same city might go to war but this is a science fiction novel so it is not a terribly weird idea. Scalia City has a military that could easily destroy the Blind Spot but the retaliation would result in the destruction of all their data.

I think Nick is the more enjoyable character because he's such an underrepresented kind of character in fiction. Specifically, he's a whiny pathetic weasal who is full of his own self-importance. His girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend and, honestly, you don't blame her because he's the kind of guy who is afraid of homeless people. Nick is an odd protagonist for a cyberpunk novel and soon finds himself wrapped up in a conspiracy he wants absolutely no part in solving.

Much of the book is about unraveling the conspiracy about who is responsible for the Blind Spot being framed for terrorist attacks. However, the actual resolution to the mystery is less important than the characters' journey along the way. Indeed, the ending has a revelation about what the characters were doing to each other that wasn't in-text but revealed as a surprise. I felt that was a bit like "cheating" and my one complaint about the book.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book and am going to check out the rest of the series. I'm an easy mark for any cyberpunk books. This one is one of the better examples I've found in indie fiction and I'm glad I checked it out. It's a unique science fiction setting that makes you wonder what happened to the rest of the world but you find it plausible enough to believe this is some place that can happen after something wiped away the old order.

Available here

Last modified on Thursday, 14 April 2022 22:25
C.T. 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.

Website: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/