Veteran – Yes I do read books sometimes!

I have just go back from a great 2 weeks mostly off the net in Spain (well nearly!). Whilst I had the Mac with my it managed to stay pretty much closed and I focused on doing a few less techie things. The first of those was my regular Choi Kwang Do patterns which I spent quite a lot of time practicing in the hot sun by the pool at the villa. It was interestingly meditative as well as being physically beneficial despite it being a little out of context for a summer holiday.
The holiday though was not devoid of tech. With the ipad, kindle, 2 DSi XL and 1 3DS, plus a TV showing satellite channels including lots of re-runs of Star Trek original series and Voyager we were not totally unwired, just a local net. I finished Splinter Cell on the 3DS despite its initially annoying control mechanism.
This post is about something else though.
I only really get to read books, fictional based ones, on holiday. I should read more, but I don’t. Before we headed out I bought myself Veteran by Gavin Smith (in paperback as I don’t own the Kindle it is my wife’s)

I knew nothing about this except what I spotted on the sleeve, but it looked a good cyberpunk action book.
I have to say it was better than good, I even finished it before the end of the holiday.
For me it had everything I needed in a book of that nature. Armoured augmented human soldiers, social decay, post apocalyptic gangs, dangerous corporations. It also featured the hackers who access the net directly via a socket in their heads and then represented themselves in all sorts of interesting ways as they dealt with the odd experience of being jacked into the net.
There was a lot of shooting and fighting, a lot of rebuilding. So it had the action box ticked. However it actually wrestled with very interesting central issue. I am trying not to give any spoilers here BTW.
In a good versus bad with a confused 3rd party in the middle the notion of openness to information was being played out. one digital based information system, or weapon was being developed by the libertarian hackers. Throughout they spoke in open source terms, in a self determination that was working against the corporate, government and warring controllers. It didn’t preach though, it showed the though patterns the characters were taking, their various ideals and motivations clashing at times. However it also showed that they were not totally sure what the outcome of such openness would be, but that it had to be done.
I was not expecting such depth of though and reasoning to surface in the book as I was reading the comforting, almost stereotypical augmented soldiers fights. Replaced eyes for lenses (a la William Gibson), the net representation (a la Stephenson). However these were not so much stereotypes as clear genre requirements that were then used to take a further journey into the politics of freedom of information, over command and control structures. It was very thought provoking.
So much so I just went and bought the follow up book War in Heaven.

It also got me thinking about my own plot lines in this sort cyberpunk environment, in the days I did not have the book to read. Who knows they may express themselves somewhere too 🙂
Of course, if I had of been reading this on the Kindle on holiday I would have been able to just download and get on with it. Hmmm, maybe I do need one after all. Of course I would have to double that up with another holiday away from it all to make sure 🙂
Anyway, back to normal, whatever that is. Lots to do this month, several articles to write, some virtual world work to code and the (ever) ongoing search for the right funding for the ground breaking meta game project.

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