Preserve by B. Barbour

Here’s one I’d like to bring to your attention if you’re into your cyberpunk that I found on my Amazon Kindle. Preserve has all the tropes you would recognise for a cyberpunk story. There’s the high tech low life, street samurai (called ‘shadows’ in this tale), ruthless corporations, a megacity and the use of AI. We also get to read about how the natural environment has changed in this near future world.

The main plot of Preserve without wanting to give too much away is that a young girl gets kidnapped by the mysterious Preservation Society, Seth reacts by wanting to help rescue her in some way and then goes in the process of doing so. Along the way the Seth gets help from former associates, does his own investigating and takes on some sinister characters.

Preserve by B Barbour

Another trope we see which is not necessarily found in cyberpunk but is the protagonist who was a former elite warrior of some sort who has left his past behind him but goes back into the game (so to speak) to achieve some objective. In this case we meet Seth a former Shadow (like a gun for hire for corporations) who lives in a rough part of town running a bar. Seth also has a prosthetic arm (like Ratz in Neuromancer). The action takes place in Triton, a floating city in the ocean originally built as some form of utopia (think Upper Hengsha in the video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution)

As this is only a novella there is only one plot line to follow with some brief mentions of what the world of Preserve is like and there are a limited set of characters, the characters we do meet however, all have some depth to them and the story itself kept me gripped which you would expect when there is only one major plotline to follow. The only criticism if you can find any is that it is quite short and I wanted to know more of the world.

There is scope for the world created by B Barbour to be built on with more stories should they choose to do so. B Barbour definitely knows their cyberpunk. I am not aware of any other works if there are any from the author there only being a brief biography on Amazon that I could find.

Again anyone who has even the slightest interest in science fiction will enjoy this one. It is a well written, neat, straight read.

Ancillary Justice, Sword and Mercy by Ann Leckie

I thought I’d combine the three in one. Ancillary Justice is truly a work of art with it’s action and thrills. We follow Breq with her quest and why she is on it decades previously.

Ann Leckie not just focuses on the adventure itself but the cultures languages and the complex universe the story is set in. I don’t know what other readers would think of the change of pace from Justice to Sword and Mercy which slows it down much more.

Breq is also more of an authority figure in Sword and Mercy and she has to handle a different types of scenarios. Sword and Mercy seemed to be more focused on personalities and trying to figure out why certain characters do things.

What I also found interesting is that Breq talks as if she’s talking in the language of the Raadch Empire in the book. This language only have the pronoun she and her to describe people so sometimes you have to figure out who is being described or speaking based on everything else they do.

Although all good I think Ancillary Justice in particular is truly remarkable.