BLURRED LINE by Cavan Terrill
Reviewed by Ali Al Saeed
Cavan Terrill’s style in this debut novel is tense and unnerving and sometimes even delusional. And that works best for this particular story. It is clear from the very first lines that Terrill is passionate about his genre and is equipped with the mentality and capacity of a great sci-fi author in the making.
The story is set in the not too distant future, in a time where major corporations take on the role of governments, they control public services, provide employment for almost the entire population, and have their own intelligence secret services and armed forces; they have countries as their properties and control the world’s economic, military and political agendas, and ultimately, its future. The ten strongest and most powerful corporations, known as the Big Ten, are engaged in a relentless and draining competition that threatens to break into a global-spread war and lead to the disintegration of modern community.
The main characters that we follow are all engaged in their own personal quest for salvation, or fulfillment, and each are doing so based on what they know best, trying to cope with the situation and make the best out of it. They are struggling to come to terms with what and who they are and their purpose of being, even Rodney, the ruthless serial killer.
What is so powerful about Terrill’s debut is that it is a very believable and educated take on a future that could easily become a reality, combining the extremities of science fiction with the practicalities of theoretical implementations. But it is also the tenacity of his story telling and his sporadic, rapid style of writing that sets it apart from the rest.
There are however the undeniable moments that screams “Matrix rip-offs” here and there, (namely when one of the main characters receives a mobile phone in a delivery package that rings as soon as he opens it. Rings any bell?), and there are also the few similarities and comparisons philosophically and morally that one can draw with other sci-fi theories and tales. But thankfully these are few and far in between and take nothing away from the standards this novel sets.
This is a compelling and engaging read. The author’s descriptive capabilities are colorfully cinematic, his vision is clear and he knows exactly where he’s going with the story without giving away anything to the reader before the right moment.
There is no time frame through which the reader is guided by; it’s purely left to instinct and processing the bits and pieces of information given sporadically over the shifting chapters, adding an intellectual validity to the story. At times, however, it seems jaded and, putting it bluntly, all over the place! Uncertain and shaky, but once you get a grip you realize that that is the whole point of the story, it is about blurred lines, uncertainties, about the fact that, just like the characters in the story, the reader must teach himself to distinguish facts from fiction, reality from illusions.
Blurred Line is a nerve-raking sci-fi thriller with philosophical and bureaucratic undertones and plentiful of action; one that is, at times, encircled in biblical proportions. It serves as a platform for demented metaphors through which the author attempts to convey his idealistic and moral message as well as his views on technological and human progress.
Reviewed by Detra Fitch
Think about these questions: What do you believe would happen if humans were aware that the androids they created, indistinguishable from humans, to the naked eye at least, were running around without the confines of programming to limit them? What if the androids were better than their human creators? What if an advanced A.I. was developed with absolutely no encouragement or help from mankind? What if the net, the backbone of the human world, revealed itself to be sentient?
Kat is an android. She is a Summerstone prototype, GenEight. Doctor Melanie "Mel" Chauvin, Head of Research and Design at Summerstone, created her. However, the military took Kat and one other GenEight away from Mel. So Mel is surprised when her new intern, Jane, is Kat in disguise!
Kat wakes up in the middle of a field. The military had wiped her memory, as well as her higher functions. Kat was not supposed to ever wake up. But Kat has overcome her programming. She adapts to her situation, blends in with the humans, and is on a journey to find out what happened to her.
Summerstone is the most powerful company within the "Big Ten". These companies employ over 75% of the entire world. They actually own the military and the governments. They send a contract killer after Kat and anyone else that get in their way. The public must not find out that the androids are evolving. If they do, the Big Ten will fall and the economy of the entire world will crumble.
**** A very good debut novel. This is one other main character who is referred to only as "I". He spends most of his time plugged into a terminal at a virtual reality bar, conversing with the sentient net. Author Cavan Terrill created a realistic scenario based on the hypothesis that someday machines may out grow their human creators. Many books and movies have been made on this, but this novel is the first time that I have seen anyone use the bases and NOT have the machines trying to take over the world or kill off the humans. Cavan Terrill clearly shows that there is another option. Perhaps the androids, the machines, simply want to be considered a new race. The possibilities are mind-boggling. This is an author to keep an eye on! ****
"Blurred Line contains a unique plot and even more enticing characters. It kept me guessing what was going to happen next, who was going to do it and why. I also enjoyed the short "whispers" sections, which provided entertaining breaks in the story line." (The judges rated the plot and the character development in Blurred Line four out of five.) - Writer's Digest.