I've been a fan of cyberpunk ever since I first picked up William Gibson's Neuromancer. It was love at first sight. Technology's firm hold on society, humans interfaced with machines... it's a geek girl's dream come true.
So, yeah. Cyberpunk is one of my favorite sub-genres... and I got a nice taste of it here!
So what's it about?
Xavier Segrave is a man down on his luck. He's a petty thief that steals for his own survival. Choosing the wrong mark one day, he finds himself severely beaten and near death. He wakes up on a table to discover that he suddenly has a new neural implant... that's keeping him alive. During his botched theft attempt he was infected with a lethal virus. His life is now set to end in less than a month. Unless!
Unless he can find out how the virus was manufactured so that his mysterious new benefactor can produce a cure in time...
As is obvious by my description, this novella is filled with high energy. While you could put it down and take a break, the chances of that are pretty slim. I read the entire novella in a single sitting.
Van Wyk has a talent for high pacing.
He doesn't mince words, providing only the reader with just enough information to paint a full picture that drives the reader to continue at all costs. While this would feel exhausting in a longer work, the technique is exactly what is needed for a novella.
Even the end was written in this action-packed manner (Don't worry... no spoilers here). It ended on an especially exciting note, leaving me hungry for more...
Which was unfortunate, because episode 2 isn't complete. When I checked Van Wyk's progress via his webpage, he'd only finished about 78% of it.
Because that's exactly the feeling I had. Van Wyk's choice of calling this 'episode1' rather than 'part 1' or 'chapter 1' was well thought out.
For the most part, this novella was amazing. The only thing that held me back from giving it Treasured Tome status was that there were a few places in which the dialogue felt stilted, which took away from the overall intensity.
This was very rare, however, and so I still consider this one of the most entertaining titles I've reviewed. Read it, and you'll understand why I say this.
Virus: Episode 1 can only be found on Kindle.