I’m very pleased to be part of the My Bookish Life blog tour for Jon Richter’s new book, Auxiliary: London 2039.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to post my review yesterday as planned, but I hope you will agree that it’s better late than never.
About the book
The silicon revolution left Carl Dremmler behind. Now the machines are god … but even He needs a good detective.
Maybe Dremmler isn’t obsolete after all. Yet.
Through the glittering urban jungle of the future prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few jobs better suited to meat than machine in 2039. His latest case: a murder suspect caught literally red-handed. The investigation seems open-and-shut, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the grisly crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.
A chip controlled by TIM.
TIM—The Imagination Machine. The silicon god of the UK. The omnipresent AI that drives every car, cooks every meal, and plans every second of human life in London. But if the accused murderer’s story is true, then TIM has been compromised … and Dremmler is in horrible danger.
TIM’s systems were supposed to be impregnable. Un-hackable. Perfect. Only somebody very powerful could bend the AI to their will. Somebody with ambitions. Somebody willing to kill to keep their secrets. If Dremmler’s going to crack this case, he’ll need to question everything he thinks he knows—and face down every terror 2039 has to offer.
Imagine the exploration of humanity and technology from Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, combined with the paranoia and Big Brother watching you of George Orwell’s 1984, and you have an idea of what lurks within the pages of Auxiliary: London 2039.
Set only 19 years in the future, Auxiliary: London 2039 describes an England where every function is overseen by an all powerful AI known as TIM.
When malfunctions in an enhanced human leave a young woman dead, police detective Carl Dremmler is given the case. It seems open and shut, until Dremmler considers the unthinkable – has TIM been hacked?
His investigations lead him through a rabbit warren of mysteries, that culminate in him having to face his own demons. With so much technological superiority against him, can one unaugmented human hope to achieve his goal?
The dangers of technology seem to be a staple of science fiction stretching back to 1950s (if not earlier), and there is something old fashioned about Richter’s message and characters, even if they are reimagined through the lens of 21 century mores.
Richter’s future, despite its advancements, is as dirty and depressed as its characters, warning that the fight for humanity may already be lost.
The protagonist, Carl Dremmler, is as hard boiled and sex addicted as Sam Spade, even if this detective works for the police rather than himself.
The technology described, while far from what we have at the moment, is based on current trends and is, for the most part, a realistic extrapolation of what we might expect to find in 2039.
The highlights for me were the flashes of the author’s humor, his sly reference to pop culture, and the scenes that slid further into horror territory.
I enjoyed Auxiliary: London 2039. It zipped along at a great pace, capturing my interest from the first page to the last. However, I almost felt a twinge of nostalgia reading this book, and I wish that the author had taken this very familiar trope into more exciting territory.
I award Auxiliary: London 2039…
Auxiliary: London 2039 is available for $3.72 ebook and $14.98 print book on Amazon.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the author
Jon Richter writes dark fiction, including his two gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial and Never Rest, and his two collections of short horror fiction, volumes one and two of Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works. His latest novel, cyberpunk noir thriller Auxiliary: London 2039, was released in May 2020.
Jon lives in London and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story. He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you more macabre tales in the very near future. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the greatest works of dark fiction, available wherever you get your podcast fix.
If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites. His website haunts the internet at www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books available at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.