Superfluous Matter
Books - Company Town, by Madeline Ashby

This is the first book I've ever read in "eBook" format. No, I'm not a luddite, why do you ask? I read it on my phone, which was fine from a technical and readability point of view, but I think it damaged the sense of immersion I normally get from reading. A dedicated e-reader might have been better for that. Holding my phone to read constantly poked the bits of my brain that engage with all the other things my phone does, never allowing me to fully engage with the story.

So I'm not sure if my impressions of this book are fair. I enjoyed the setting and the concept and I definitely wanted to find out what happened next, but I found the actual writing and story structure to be somewhat lacking. I was regularly confused on key points or feeling like I had missed something. Again, perhaps reading on my phone messed with my brain, but I'm not sure.

The book is a speculative fiction piece set on an oil rig in eastern Canada where almost everyone has some level of cybernetic enhancement. However the main character, Hwa, is a "pure organic" and as such is seen as an asset for the job of bodyguard for the teenage boy who will inherit the ownership of the rig from his father. Because Hwa has no implants she can't be hacked or monitored by malicious actors. Then the author adds some time-travel and the book gets weird. It's all really interesting from a conceptual point of view though, and the commentary on what it means to be un-augmented in an augmented world seems particularly relevant for the future of the real world.

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