Monday, 29 October 2018

Runtime by S B Divya - Book Review #246

Mary Margaret Guinto, better known as Marmeg is a poor girl, living in the ghettos of Los Angeles and trying to make a better life for herself.

She is an augmented woman who uses an exoskeleton to get around and do her job as a bouncer.  But the gear and chip implants are expensive.  She has managed to cobble together her gear from cast-offs, used goods and some creative dumpster diving.

In order to fast track her desire to make a better life for herself, go to university, get a decent job and help her family, she enters the Minerva Sierra Challenge.  This is an annual cross-country endurance race for augments.  The prize money would get her out of her situation.

One of the joys of this book was the contrast of hightech against the rugged backwoods mountainscape.

The only quibble I have was the gender neutral pronouns - I still find words like Zir and Zie awkward and they tend to take me out of the story.  But that is exactly what is good about science fiction; it attempts to normalize the things we are just coming to terms with today and show us a possible future and nomenclature that may be a new normal.

Other than that I was very happy with the story and enjoyed how believable and natural the characters were written.  The author has a perfect touch at depicting the human impact of the situations.

I also have to give credit to Tor for publishing short novels like this one, it came it at 116 pages.  It's a nice throwback to the paperback days when novels seldom passed the 200 page mark.  It makes the storytelling crisp and keeps the plot moving along.  This is a very enjoyable length.

S B Divya's website -

S B Divya

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