- Title: Forever People
- Author: Alison Lyke
- Series: None
- Genre: Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk
- Publishing Date: March 28th, 2019
- Publishing Co.: Black Rose Writing
- Length: 216 pages
- Format: Paperback, Kindle
- Acquired: Given free digital copy in exchange for a review
- Amazon Link: Forever People
Welcome to Zeta City, where the whole world goes to die. Here, the Node System uploads the minds of the dying so they can spend eternity in a digital Promised Land. But, this cyber heaven is causing hell on earth for the living because the System forces them to earn Points to buy data in the afterlife.
Camille is a salty mercenary out to hoard as many Points as possible by exploiting the dying with illegal technology. She’s on the hunt for Toy, a rebel leader who uploaded lethal technology to her own brain in an attempt to wipe out everyone’s Node Points.
Camille goes to increasingly dangerous lengths in pursuit of Toy. She soon finds that the Node is full of warm reunions with loved ones and otherworldly creations. It’s also full of lies.
First Chapter Challenge: 5%
Here we are introduced to the muscular mercenary of Camille. She makes her living by finding people who are dying in Zeta, and keeping them alive with her contraband technology long enough to settle their scores with the living. Sometimes that just means keeping a young boy alive until his parents can reconcile with him. Sometimes it means holding someone hostage in their decaying body until they fork over enough money to pay off their debts.
It looks like it costs money to get into the Node, or perhaps it’s just like living on Earth, where you have to use money to “live.” I am really interested to see what exactly happens to people who die and go to the Node! I’m also interested to see how this promise of immortality affects life on Earth… If it doesn’t matter when you die, or how you die, is there really any meaning to life?
Final Judgment: 5 Stars out of 5
In this crazy Sci-Fi novel, I found myself faced with ethical dilemmas, a fondness for terrorist hackers, and a yearning to off myself. Needless to say, this one was quite a ride! In a summary of the plot, a computer code was created around cities, allowing those who died to have their consciousness automatically uploaded into this digitized afterlife. So as long as you died within the safety of these “Node nets,” you were granted life everlasting. Most of the Earth has been netted as such, though there are still a few wild countries left unnetted. Death has become a natural, common occurrence, and people all from all aspects of life are doing whatever they can to increase their Node Points–the currency of the afterlife. If you don’t have enough NPs when you die… Well, the belief is that you spend eternity in a sort of poverty-stricken hell-hole. One hacker from the extremist group of Nirvana, Toy, decides to nullify NPs, rendering everyone on equal footing. She uploads a computer virus–the Bliss Virus–into her brain and broadcasts her message all across Zeta City. She plans to kill herself and when she gets to the Node, the Bliss Virus inside her brain will be uploaded along with her consciousness, thereby accessing the Node and wiping out everyone’s NPs–dead or alive. Cody, a mysterious government agent, enlists the help of illegal bounty hunter/mercenary Camille to stop this virus from relegating everyone’s hard work to nothing. Will they be successful? What will be the consequences if they are?
Perhaps it isn’t special people who get to do great things, she thought to herself. Maybe all it takes is someone who is willing to jump in at the right place at the right time. (Page 87)
Alison Lyke creates a futuristic, compelling story that literally had me turning the page (or rather swiping on my Kindle) without break. I read this book in about 4 consecutive hours, it was that captivating. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, some event would throw the plan off-course, and I was left reeling with the characters.
…horror and death come cheap in Zeta. (Page 22)
Speaking of the characters, I loved how each was very distinct from any other. Camille is of course my favorite, with her adult language (may want to make this 18+ because of it), coarse humor, and no-nonsense attitude. However, I did really enjoy Remy as well, a tough guy on the outside but a snuggly cuddle bear on the inside (but don’t tell him I said that!) Toy and Nora were both very interesting characters with some unique backstories, and they definitely added more color to the novel with their own Point of View sections. In fact, I really enjoyed that this novel had so many different point of views, it allowed me to get a much clearer picture of what is going on, as well as building my suspense throughout.
I really loved the dangerous mission of this novel, and Lyke handled all of its elements–including the characters–with precision and entertainment. My emotions were in turmoil for much of it, and I could actually feel my physical relief when more information was revealed about the mission, about the story, about the characters. I felt as if I was actually in the story, annnnd I admit that I may have envisioned my own death a few times, knowing that there was a Node to catch me.
For all that they could create, most people just re-created being alive with all its glorious tedium. It turned out, many of the dead had spent their mortal life clawing their way to more of the same. (Page 116)
Not only was this novel so entertaining and unique, but it also led me to a lot of questions. What makes this life meaningful? Is it because of the certainty of death, of the uncertainty of what lies after death? Would it be worth spending every waking moment of your life trying to make more money (or in this case NPs) to have everlasting comfort in the afterlife? And what makes people decide not to take the easy way out and simply kill themselves to reach that everlasting heaven? Again, perhaps it is simply the uncertainty of what lies after. The entire story brought up a plenitude of ethical dilemmas which I grappled over throughout the book and still now, even after I’ve finished it. It raises some amazing philosophical questions, and I would love to know your guys’ take on all of this stuff! If there were a certainty of a wonderful heaven in the afterlife, no matter what you did in your living life or who you were, what would you do? How would you feel? Comment below!