Human++ by Dima Zales (ebook) review

While apparently the story takes place in the future, this is not explicitly clarified in the book, but the presence of advanced futuristic technologies leads us to think that way.One of these technologies and central part of the book are “brainocytes”, microscopic mini-robots that are injected intravenousely and travel to the brain where they get implanted so the patient can use internet with his brain. This idea is what sustains the story and basically the only interest of the novel. Unfortunately i cannot say the idea is new, since i remember an action movie of the 2000 where mini-robots were injected in patients to cure diseases. How it works in the book, however, with the patient seeing gigantic google icons and chat windows floating in his bedroom touches the limits between sci-fi and Saturday morning cartoons. Not to mention when, later in the book, the main character implanted with brainocytes can see an avatar of his girlfriend-to-be and his best friends, also implnated with the mini-robots, floating around him as small avatars with the looks of an angel and a demon respectively. Yes, you read this right, i promise that happens in the book. No comments.
What i must say as a very good feature of this novel is that the author is able to give a scientifically logical explanations of how those brainocytes work, showing he is capable of forging a solid scientific fictional explanaitiong behind what he describes in the book. This makes the story rise up to the level of first-class science fiction. And this is the only part where the author excels: he knows what he is talking about.
Nevertheless the rest of the book is a fiasco. It is so boring and uninteresting you can feel your ID points leaking off your ears. The story is simple, predictable, linear and a mash-up of situations you have seen thousand times in bad action movies. The author seems to be somehow aware of that, because all the references in the book are to movies like Terminator, Matrix or characters like Freddy Krugger. What can you expect of a writer whose inspiration comes from Friday night TV movies of the 90s?
The story, as i said, is linear and non-complicated: simply follows the steps of the main character, Misha, who should give the name of “Boring++”, and how the goes through over-simplistic, non-credible, absurd adventures to rescue his mother. Because all movies have a love story, the next-Nobel-prize-in-literature author decides to include a woman in the plot (almost the only female character): Boring+++ aka Ada. If Misha is poorly constructed, Ada is a total empty character, badly described and (this is a common limitation of many male writers) who thinks as behave as a man would. Not surprisingly the love story between Boring++ and Boring+++ could not be more artificial and unrealistic.
The rest of the characters are poorly constructed, uninteresting and stereotyped. Of course they fail to be appealing. The most extreme of them is cousin Joe, a Russian psycopath mobster whose presence in the novel makes no sense at all but whose intrusion in the story is merely to enable the main character, Boring++, a computer scientist, to get inside the criminal underworld where most of the novel takes place. This mash-up of un-matching characters so poorly constructed takes the novel and sinks it deep to a level of mediocrity that scares my eyes.
The plot doesn’t really catch you or engage you. The ending is simple, predictable, doesn’t close the book properly and seems to be made in a rush. The story of Misha’s father is not even explained properly and seems like a desperate try to plug the leaks on the sinking boat with chewing gum before it sinks for good to a sea of forgettable books that should have never been written.
I read the entire book. As i said, i appreciate the good scientific background for the story (as a scientist i get angry when i see flaws in the understanding of science, and this author did not make any mistake in this regards). The rest does not provide much more than a poorly entertaining sci-fi story, easy and fast to read that doesn’t demand much of your attention or intellect. I am sure the author will be able to bring his literature further and improve in his style and, hopefully, one day this novel will be seen as one of those bizarre first-works of a good novelist.

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