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October 14, 2018

The Synapse Sequence by Daniel Godfrey ~ a Review

by MK French

In the future, robots work most service jobs and there are AI algorithms to determine how crimes are going to be committed, who is punished, and what jobs are going to be taken. Anna Glover is one of the most hated people in London because of her role in a war. She tries to be anonymous and developed a technology that would allow her to see the memories of various eyewitnesses to reconstruct unsolved crimes. She feels that this can atone for her role in the warfare, but the technology's owner wants to monetize it. The more she looks into the technology of the synapse sequencer, the more she sees that the underpinnings of society aren't as benevolent as she thought. Unfortunately, there are those that don't want her to know this.
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The Synapes Sequence
June 2018; Titan Books; 978-1785653179
ebook, print (386 pages); science fiction
There are already features of monitoring the populace, in the form of CCTV in England and continual security cameras. This is taken to a natural extreme in this novel, as people are expected to hand over biometric data to employers, and there are AI programs monitoring vitals, locations, and even setting up dinners in ovens before people get home. While that can be somewhat helpful, it's also very invasive and pervasive. Police work has progressed beyond investigation to prediction and prevention, or identification and punishment. It's even stated that printed material is illegal in this future, as governments can't hack it.

Interspersed with the main stories are chapters that take place in an unmarked future; it isn't obvious right away, but we soon realize we're seeing Anna in a nursing home after the sequencer has destroyed her memory. These chapters break up some of the tension from the main story line's investigation, and gradually introduces questions of their own. Eventually, we see why it dovetails with the main story, and it's fascinating.  I'm not sure how I really feel about the characters, because I'm rooting for Anna to solve the mystery, but her reasoning involves some morally gray choices. A lot of the characters are like that, actually, and it's clear how their prejudices and blind spots really affect the course of events.

The book is fascinating, and definitely a commentary on the digital age and the concept of a society with a universal income. Just when you think you know how it's going to end, however, there are more and more twists along the way that really get you thinking. The plot is definitely engaging, with a bit of a slow start that gave you a chance to immerse yourself in the reality of this world.

Buy The Synapse Sequence at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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  1. That cover is so striking! I think that this sounds like one that I would enjoy as well. The concept is one that I have never come across before.