Dantec, Maurice G. -- Cosmos Incorporated

I don't know what the hell this book is trying to do. I gave up halfway through.

It starts out with a sort of latter-day-cyberpunk, updated-PKD style, with a hired, memory-hacked assassin sneaking through airport security in a decaying, overly-restrictive, decaying world government. Did I mention decaying? Apparently the world just sort of beat itself up for the first half of the 21st century, with terrorists and religious factional wars and civil wars and resource exhaustion, and now everything sucks. The author makes a great point of saying how science is being abandoned and technology is in retreat; he doesn't show it, but he talks about it a lot.

For the first third of the book, nothing happens. The assassin sits around his hotel and reconnoiters, as the author delivers canned history lecture after canned history lecture. Then we find out who manipulated, or rather invented, his mission and memory: a pair of super-powered reality-hacking twins who are living in the same hotel. This plot twist is not as well-handled as it sounds.

From here the storyline shifts over to delivering hallucinatory quasi-scientific mumbo jumbo. I am, to be sure, sometimes up for a good mumbo jumboing! But it works best in small doses. Climactic scenes. This book just doesn't let up. And it's delivered in the breathless, importunate, exhausting tone of a die-hard crackpot filling up his very first 1990s web site.

(I'd quote some choice paragraphs, and you'd laugh at them, but they wouldn't convey the experience of entire chapters of woo-woo scrolling past.)

I don't mean to imply that the author believes this stuff. I haven't read his other books. Maybe he's doing a brilliant job of inventing a lunatic, techno-eschatological worldview for his book. Maybe he writes down exactly what the voices in his head tell him to. I don't care. It goes over the top on a paragraph-by-paragraph basis, it's damnably tedious, and if anything happens I couldn't muster the energy to pick it out of the fireworks.

(Interest: the protagonist's last name is Plotkin. I wondered if this would affect my reading experience, but it didn't.)

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