Ooh, hmm, okay, now this is challenging. To me, in the opening bits, there is definitely a disembodied voice that says things like “Let her have this moment.” or “Two more people now, to the north of Devendra Kapoor, both of whom he knew although Lina Stephenson did not, yet.”. That opening section is very cool. I like it.
However the voice doesn’t always stay disembodied, even within the first section. Eg:
” Four months ago, Lina had been certain Emilie would not stick it out here, that she couldn’t make the transition from city-state to mountains. It was nice to have been wrong.”
Here, as far as I can tell, we are pretty much Lina; that’s Lina’s inner thoughts and perceptions. Then, mixed in there is a good bit of Gibsonesque/Banks-esque/Clockwork-Orange-y sort of uberstylised vernacular. Again, all fine, but there’s just something … confusing about it. It’s not totally clear to me what I should settle into and when, or who is perceiving things how. Stylistically as I say it reminds me a little of Neuromancer, or the Culture novels, or Against a Dark Background, maybe even Will Self in places; perfectly ok when it’s consistent, more demanding when it isn’t. Do you plan to link in Lina’s voice to the techie-speak? Might she or Thiago use some of the chopped, clipped style? Or is this separation by design?
There are moments when the voice really pops. I particularly got a thrill from: “But also, god also, couldn’t wait to make this hit they’d been preparing for months. ” Again, straight in with a new voice that I can totally hear and really want to engage with, some nondescript yet genius-level hacker dude that somehow makes grey trascksuits sexy. Yet – and maybe it’s simply that there are a lot of voices and people to keep track of in a short space, but is it necessary that those 2 guys in London and Bristol are introduced now? Can they wait? What is gained by front-loading them now?
Ordinarily my personal taste doesn’t tend quite so much towards the ultra-minimal – I like a measure of floaty worldbuild alongside the architecture of the characters’ doings – but there is something absolutely thrilling about this, like being in a cool bar in an edgy part of a strange city where I’m seconds away from either having the night of my life, or making a complete arse of myself 🙂
TL;DR – I like the sleek swoops in; there just seems alot to take on board. Hope this helps. Thanks for the read 🙂