Andron Varga is a small-town lawyer on planet Terra and he’s having a bad year.
A cosmically bad year.
First, he loses the love of his life to an errant meteorite. And then his computer downloads a virus from deep space that crashes the Internet.
And not just any deep-space-Internet-crashing virus.
Its name is Cygnus and it has a plan. To hijack a human cloning project so that he can be born into the world as Jesus.
All Cygnus needs is a good lawyer willing to do very bad things.
[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]
This is rather an oddball. I couldn’t decide whether I somewhat liked it, or if it just wasn’t for me. So in the end, I guess I’m going with a “meh” rating.
This story comes with a blend of crazy sci-fi, people encoding themselves in virtual space, cloning experiments, and religious fanaticism. The parallels with our world are not only obvious but totally on purpose and often played for laughs (the Holy Cloth, lawyer jokes, and so on). This was for the most part enjoyable, and provided for a background that was both unknown but easy to understand.
The “Cygnus Virus” is also, let’s be honest, a troll, and in a way, it was fun to read about (well, provided one doesn’t squirm at the prospect of porn-bombing descriptions and e-mails containing goat pictures and the likes). Not a very “pleasant” character, for sure, and one that struck me as more immature than anything else, not to mention the bleak surroundings and situations he created for Andron and others; still, that cloning project was both hilarious and genius, when you think about it (imagine injecting a /b/-level troll into the cloned body of the next Messiah… yeah, Charlie-Foxtrot much?). OK, it’s vulgar. The Berlin sim had a vulgar side, too, however at the same time it foreshadowed the kind of decision Andron would probably have to make later, and that was interesting. And he tries, the poor guy, doing the best he can with what he has.
And the ending. Cosmic irony to the power of ten. I liked that.
On the other hand… the present tense narration just grated on my nerves from beginning to end—I think this is part of the reason why I never warmed up to the book in general. In some cases, it works, in others it fails.
Moreover, I think the story could’ve gone a bit further in Andron’s motivations and/or Cygnus’s behaviour. Considering the blurb, I expected Andron to be more ruthless, and conversely, Cygnus was more like a kid throwing a tantrum, which was fun, but dampened the potential for Evil he was bringing to Terra.
Conclusion: I liked most of the story’s themes, even though it could’ve done with less sex-troll material and with more seriously-evil instead, but the narrative tense and the outcome (and outlook on life) of some of the characters were perhaps a bit too… well, too b leak to my liking.