This review is as spoiler-free as possible.
Book Title: Medusa Uploaded
Author: Emily Devenport
Premise: Oichi Angelis, a working class citizen aboard a generation star ship pairs with a Medusa suit to wreak havoc on the political Executives.
My rating: 4 / 5
My name is Oichi Angelis, and I am a worm.
I really enjoyed Medusa Uploaded. The book moved at an excellent pace. The characters were intriguing, flawed and real. Political background and new technologies drove the plot but they were presented in a way that it was easy to understand. The flow of the story was easy to keep up with. One of the major downfalls of science fiction is that the stories can get lost in explanations of tech and the way of life of alien/future beings. Medusa Uploaded explained these things in a way that maintained focus on the current events of the characters and the plot.
This book appealed to me mostly because of the cover. Isn’t it bada**!? I was also very excited to see a female protagonist in a sci-fi novel. Of course this is becoming more common but still not as common as I would like! Although I didn’t recognize many of the composers mentioned in the story, the references to popular culture were fun. Even if they were disconnected remnants of a dead civilization.
Devenport does an excellent job of describing the politics and social structure of the people living on a generation ship. The passengers have been hurtling through space for hundreds of years but are still years from their destination. The social structure is very different from ours, although it similar in small ways. Enough to make it believable, and to paint a vivid picture of the advanced stage of civilization that built these ships.
The political activities are at times shocking. It was reminiscent of Game of Thrones but in space. The so called lower class in Medusa Uploaded is not written as they sometimes are in fiction, poor and ignorant. Instead they are all portrayed as very intelligent people. It makes for a very interesting back-and-forth between Oichi and her associates versus the Executives.
One of my favorite parts of the book was all the cool technology. From the generation ship itself to the awe-inspiring Medusa suits. Each new tech is described in a way that the reader understands its purpose, but is not bogged down by technological nitty gritty details. Interior dialogue is used more often than spoken words due to the neural interface and implants that the characters have. It is a really interesting way to add dialogue to a story in which the protagonist spends a lot of time alone.
AI is represented in the book through the Medusa units. A Medusa unit is a type of space suit with various interface technologies and really cool tentacle-type limbs that allow them to travel quickly inside or outside the ship. Because they are AI, They can work autonomously or pair up with a person who has a corresponding implant. I particularly liked the emotional state that lining up with a person’s medusa unit entails. It was all very interesting. But more importantly, its a concept that is fresh and interesting in a field where AI has been represented in as many forms as you can imagine.
This book kept me on my toes, and was a very enjoyable read. Medusa Uploaded ended on a huge cliffhanger and I can’t wait for the sequel. Devenport is slated to release the sequel “Medusa in the Graveyard” sometime in 2019!