Saturday, 2 September 2017
BOOK REVIEW: VIROLOGY BY REN WAROM
Author: Ren Warom
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewed by: Sandra Scholes
Since the last novel, Escapology, Ren Warom's story progresses with this cyberpunk continuance where Foon Gung houses the best hackers around, Shock Pao being the kid who breaks the Slip, being able to control the entire systems of the world. With the other hackers seeking him out, Shock and his gang might be found all too soon.
Shock hides and after what he has done, many would too. Virology recaps on the previous book where Shock tells of Foon Gung, the last place on earth that was unbroken a few hundred years ago and run by the Corporation, Fulcrum. They guarded the Slip, a virtual world where users could ride around in gold avatars Shock used to think were not real, but now, after his recent encounters, believes them to be very real indeed. His avatar in the first novel is represented as a shark (remember the cover art?) and now after he's been injured, escaped, been captured again and escaped again, missing several parts he is weary of the world around him.
This reintroduction to a continuation of the previous story is where Shock takes a back sear while the other characters try to make sense of the world around them. Amiga, Evelyn and Gail all have to get through the more dangerous world however they can. The setting is an Asian version of The Matrix where the internet is controlled by an all-powerful group and users will pay high for weapons, even their freedom. What Shock has done causes him isolation, but there is no going back after the fallout.
A few pop-culture references and the comical chapter titles fool the reader into thinking this is a cooky novel, it is far from it. Ren Warom decided, it seems to create the sort of novel series that could blow the mind of the reader, or at least scramble it. Virology is a sequel novel designed for people who grew-up with the internet and want to read about a world where anything is possible where people can be free from exploitation. This world of the Slip is everything you expect it to be, involving, immersive, dangerous and perfect for some. If Escapology was strange, unusual and at times crazy, this continues the rollercoaster ride we have come to expect.