Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cannonball Read 3 Review #1- Neuropath by R. Scott Bakker

I picked up this book because the cover looked cool and the name sounded good. I read the back brief and it sounded like a Criminal Minds type book. As I absolutely adore Criminal Minds, I decided to buy it from Mercer Island Books. The cover tagline is "You are not what you think you are." This book absolutely passed popcorn Serial Killer Criminal Minds reading. The setting of the book was interesting as it promoted Speculative Science and was set in a mixture of Philip K Dick's Minority Report universe with a bit of Back to the Future II. Unfortunately even in this story there are no hoverboards! The year is 2011. Why can't we have Hoverboards. Anyway, end rant.

The story starts with Professor Thomas Bible being questioned by the FBI. Thomas Bible is a psychology professor in the near future. His best friend Neil Cassidy, former school chum is wanted by the FBI in a series of connected murders. Neil is mixed up in some weird ass Mind Control experiments on terrorists. That is just the beginning. Thomas's children and his ex wife all get caught up in Thomas's troubles. He is originally suspected to be an accomplice of Neil.

The whole book is posited on a philosophical argument between the protagonist and antagonist. They dubbed it "The Argument". The Argument for all purposes is that there is no free will or soul. Our brain is just a highly powered machine and we are just experiencing inputs and outputs like a computer. This is what sucked me in. I am a sucker for philosophy especially surrounding free will. I think that is a big driving force in my own philosophy. I think thats why this book Mindfucked me. It made me think more than I thought was going to happen.
The Argument itself screws with every major character in the book. This book is a must read for those who like futuristic crime novels, cyberafficianados, futurewhores, etc. It makes you think more than it would lead you to believe.

R Scott Bakker has a way with words and weaves in a secondary story about another serial killer dubbed the Chiropractor who is taking all the press while Neil is also being investigated for his crimes. His universal future is fraught with potential hazards of real life including Global Climate Change issues including making Moscow pretty much a wasteland and fires all across Europe. His future also includes a severe issue with Big Brother type government which pretty much is what Neil enjoyed being able to work for. He also posits about the first post porn generation where everyone grew up with internet porn and extremes so no one is really taboo about it.

This book has everything an Orwell, Huxley, Dick, or Gibson fan could want. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fast paced Mindfuck. I rate it around an 85%.

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