What do a “Farm,” robotic arm, and a murder have in common? They are linked together in the brilliant science fiction novel, “Auxiliary: London 2039” written by Jon Richter and published by TCK Publishing.com.
This is not a cheerful novel where science has improved humanity and the world for the better. This is a dark, gritty, dystopian view of our future where we have given up our individuality and our freedom to computers. It is this vision that makes this novel so interesting and worth reading.
The description of the novel from the jacket cover reads as follows:
“The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind.
But a good detective is never obsolete.
Through the glittering urban wonderland of the future prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective-one of the few jobs better suited to meat than machine in 2039. His latest case: a murder suspect caught literally red-handed. The investigation seems open and shut, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the grisly crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.
A chip controlled by TIM.
TIM: The Imagination Machine. The silicon god of the UK. The omnipresent AI that drives every car, cooks every meal, and plans every second of human life in London. But if the accused murderer’s story is true, then TIM’s compromised … and Dremmler’s in horrible danger.
TIM’s systems were supposed to be impregnable. Un-hackable. Perfect. Only somebody very powerful could bend the AI to their will. Somebody with ambitions. Somebody willing to kill to keep their secrets. If Dremmler’s going to crack this case, he’ll need to question everything he thinks he knows-and face down every terror 2039 has to offer.”
One of the challenges of good science fiction novel, is the author’s ability to describe places and events. Jon Richter has definitely mastered this challenge. His ability to describe colours, scents, light, and sounds enhance the readers ability to suspend their system of disbelief. Transporting them into the places and experiences.
A great example of the amazing descriptions in this book comes from chapter 6, Dremmler goes to a club called Toxicity with Petrovic, his partner on this particular case. Part of the experience uses special glasses called spex. The following is the description of that expereince from page 26:
“As he followed her to join the other revelers, he clicked the spex to the right station , and a cocoon of swirling colours embraced them, washing the rest of the club away. It was just him and her, enveloped in a pulsating fabric of blue and green and silver and magenta and sapphire and emerald and amethyst and finally blue again, a glorious cerulean sky stretching into infinity above them, the sun suspended within it like a droplet of molten gold. Long blades of grass danced around their feet as they gyrated , and the sun sank slowly, its colour bleeding out into the sky in a deep crimson blot like the end of the world, the final gory hemorrhage of the earth, beautiful and brutal and pure violent red, like war, like the womb he had squirmed out of in the dying throes of the twentieth century, like lips, like Cynthia’s lips, and he was dancing and drinking with Cynthia, kissing her on top of a snow-capped mountain, staring into a sky so clear and crisp it might have been an ice cube floating in her glass.”
I don’t want to give anything away about the storyline or plot but nothing is as it seems in this novel. With the addition of the AltWorld, a computer generated alternative reality experience, there are times where it is hard to know what is real and what isn’t.
Another great aspect of this story is that it primarily told through the experiences of Carl Dremmler. On occasion the author shares points of view from others in the novel. It expands the readers overall view of this strange world without giving any plot information away.
One of the creepiest moments in the book has to do with a creature made by a 3-D laser printer. Earlier in the novel, Dremmler had seen the aftermath of this printer made creature killing someone. The creature or device as TIM calls it, had disappeared into the sewer. The following is an exchange between Dremmler and TIM about the device from chapter 33, page 147:
“Another fucking rogue robot we’ve lost track of,” Dremmler muttered.
“Incorrect. The device reappeared earlier today. It emerged from an open manhole and scaled the building.”
“This building, Carl. Until two hours ago, it was attached to the outside surface of your bedroom window.”
I would definitely recommend this novel to fans of science fiction. While cautioning that this novel isn’t for everyone. If you enjoy darker literature and specifically dark science fiction, this book is definitely for you.
If you would like to find out more about Jon, check out his page on his publishers website https://www.tckpublishing.com/our-authors/author-jon-richter/ and the author’s website page https://www.jon-richter.com/,
If you would like to find more novels like this one or just another good book to read, please check out the TCK publishing website. https://www.tckpublishing.com/