“Then again, how much of any of us includes the original parts? Organs, limbs, cells. Even the molecules. We’re constantly recycling what are already only recycled bits of dead stars. Ever think about that? Puts everything in perspective.” – C. Piprell, MOM
It has been years since I last read sci-fi, so when I jumped into C. Piprell’s MOM, I was taken on one heck of a ride. Our protagonist is Cisco the Kid, in a future where what remains of humankind has been relegated to existing safely in Malls. There, Cisco and others spend much of their time Worlding: playing in any number of digital alternate realities. But not all is well in would-be Paradise. Cisco’s memory and personality have started to fragment, the AI that takes care of everything from food to entertainment to staying alive is going insane, and that is only the beginning. This is the end of the world, but not in a way you would expect.
First, I have to give the author major credit for creating futuristic slang that makes sense given the technology that is introduced in the story. Second, the perspective shift between Cisco and others—I cannot specify, as I do not wish to spoil the story—is both sharp and engaging. Everything moves at a pace that kept me enthralled and wanting more. Third, Piprell also demonstrates a mastery of writing dialog and using language in a way that really captures the personality of each character. Piprell’s pinpoint attention to detail also shows; any mention of something in passing, such as electronic graffiti, has a purpose.
On a more personal note, I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this is sci-fi with a love of Thailand at its heart. This was a genuine breath of fresh air for me with this genre. The future described in MOM is also very close to home, which is something I adore about gritty sci-fi. The more visceral, the better.
That all being said, however, there were times where it felt as if the writing got ahead of me. An example of this is being thrown face-first into so much future slang and technology at once. There are also scenes where Cisco is Worlding, and the focus on sensory detail is a bit jarring to jump back into after a day or so of not reading the book. But once I got caught up—and discovered the glossary, which helped immensely—I was once again situated. MOM is a book where you need to be highly attentive to what you’re reading. The payout is absolutely worth it, but can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.
Overall, I would have to give this book a 4.25 out of 5 stars. The pace is keeps is both extremely engaging but also a touch overwhelming at times. If you’re a fan of cyberpunk or Black Mirror, this is definitely up your alley.
MOM is set to be released on May 5, 2017 by Common Deer Press.
Note: I was given an advance reader copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review.