Review by Ty Black
Ryker Morris has been living on the streets of Dallas since he lost his job for refusing to be implanted with an ID chip. His free will is soon at stake after he finds an old friend’s corpse in an alleyway and witnesses a mysterious white van appear to steal his friend’s a brain implant.
Cyberpunk thriller Open Source, by Anna L. Davis, takes place in a future where implantable chips are common and a subset of the population has chosen to augment their brains with net-connected NeuroChips, which (not incidentally) leave a bit to be desired in terms of security. The story follows a would-be reporter through the streets of Dallas as he gets sucked into a cult-leader’s conspiracy to hack into the brains of NeuroChip-implanted citizens in order to control their minds and give them a form of digital immortality.
Open Source starts out strong, I got through the first fifty pages or so in less than an hour, but after that I found the story sagged a bit. There were also a lot of unfulfilled promises. For example, the author spent a lot of time making zombies of her characters, and talking about zombies via a Vodouist character (whose dialogue reminded me strongly of Jar Jar Binks), and she referenced both 28 Days Later and Word War Z, but despite having a cult full of cyborg zombies handy she never unleashes a cyborg zombie apocalypse upon the unsuspecting citizens of Dallas. The ending we get wasn’t bad, mind you, but it wasn’t what we were set up for and I found it felt out-of-the-blue. I give Open Source two out of five stars.
Anna L. Davis is an associate editor at Henery Press, a publisher of mysteries and women’s fiction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, and was a technical editor of Biological Psychiatry from 2001-2002. She was recently interviewed here for NaNoWriMo. Open Source is Davis’ debut novel.
330 pp. Anna L. Davis. $15.95