Craig Lea Gordon asked me to review his cyberpunk novella Hypercage. The book reminds me a bit of Black Mirror — reality with a techno-antisocial twist. Here’s a passage from the beginning that shows what I mean:

His wife’s face [formed] a frown of danger across the restaurant table. He was in trouble.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

Dave paused as a set of notifications slotted up the side of his HUD, glowing vividly against the romantic lighting of their corner booth.

+200 Session XP
+100 XP Mission flare
+1000 XP Enemy craft destroyed
-1500 XP Mission objectives failed
Net score: -100 XP
Daily XP total: 71,265

Minus 100 experience points? And only a hundred XP for mission flare! That was fucking bollocks. He slammed the table with his fist. The two glasses of red wine wobbled uncertainly from the impact.

Hypercage suffers from a little too much emphasis on the futuristic tech at the expense of character development, but the story rollicks along. It won’t bore you. If you need the protagonist to be likable in order to enjoy a story, skip this one. Antihero fans will be fine.

I got sucked in once the main character discovered a VR plugin that was supposed to let his brain multitask, so he could carry on a normal life while maintaining his addiction to the in-universe Eve Online clone.

Artwork by Surian Soosay.

Artwork by Surian Soosay.

Artwork by Surian Soosay.

Artwork by Surian Soosay.

That’s all. Go on home now. Or go download Hypercage.

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