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August 11, 2023

More Perfect by Temi Oh ~ a Review

by MK French

People have small implants that allow social media to exist as an augmented reality layer. The British government has now decided to step in citing public safety, veering into severe overreach.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of cyberpunk novel More Perfect by Temi Oh
August 2023; Saga Press; 978-1982142834
audio, ebook, print (592 pages); cyberpunk

More Perfect
reimagines the Eurydice and Orpheus myth as it's set in a near-future London. One of our main characters is actually named Orpheus, and he's a young man who spent the first fourteen years of his life on an island with his father subsistence farming and avoiding technology. Kids were getting the Panopticon installed into their brains as young children, getting so used to the augmented reality overlay that an attack flooding London and knocking out power led them to panic. The Panopticon's parent company then creates a paramilitary branch to keep the peace within the city and through all of England; there is no more choosing whether to have a Panopticon or not, every citizen must have it installed, and it's used to invade thoughts and memories, induce dream topics, and track citizens at all times. This is an utterly chilling view of a potential future... And all of this within the first few chapters!

In the five years since the flood, Moremi isn't as focused on dance as she used to be due to financial issues and continued flashbacks of getting caught in the wave of water that flooded London. Orpheus had a period of addiction and working on building dreams, doing his best to bypass the Panopticon and drawing their attention because of it. His work is being used to help with trauma victims and mental illness, bringing their paths together. Of course, there's the benefit of using the Pulse in that way, but it also involves altering and deleting memories from the quartz memory embedded in it. There's also talk of melding minds, so that people become fused together with separate bodies, and the creation of a separate police force to arrest and detain people indefinitely if they're determined to potentially cause crime. In essence, it's a blend of Inception and Minority Report; I love those movies and seeing the concepts here, and it's devastating to see how it works in this possible future.

The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice plays a role here as well as the discussion about privacy, individuality, and what it is to be human. Sci-fi is wonderful for those kinds of questions, and I find myself seeing both the positives and negatives to the Pulse question in the novel. It's much how I see our current technology: it's a tool, and only as good as those that use it. The commercial aspect of course seems to drive the usage of any new technology, and that is mentioned here as well. It's taken to an extreme conclusion here, but that's what makes us question where social media and tech are going. Hopefully, enough of us will push to better humanity, not constrain it.

Buy More Perfect 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 a golden retriever. 

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