Monday, September 4, 2017


Riko wakes up in a lab with no memory of how she got there. She manages to fight her way out, witness her lover Nanjali's death, and pass out outside the building. Then, she wakes up in police custody. When she finally makes her way home, she finds the reputation she painstakingly built over her years as a mercenary is completely shot. Her crew acts like she betrayed them when they previously trusted each other. Her memory loss actually spans months rather than hours like she thought. Riko has no memory of any wrongdoing, but she wants to make it right, regain her reputationm and figure out what truly happened to her girlfriend.

Necrotech is not like a lot of other science fiction or horror novels. The world is what might happen if we keep going like we are. Entire swathes of the United States are uninhabitable due to electromagnetic radiation from the sun and the extreme levels of pollution. Water is so precious that showers are mostly placed with radiation blasts to kill off anything harmful. The areas that have sun shields are incredibly packed with people that each level has its own rules and politics separate from the others. Technology has gone cybernetic as everyone who is born is implanted with nanotechnology to maintain their health. Broken bones are a minor inconvenience quickly fixed and cancer isn't even a possibility. A SIN or social ID number is carved into the brain to track and hook people into the grid that assaults the user with constant obnoxious ads, bright colors, and loud noise. The SINless or saints have had this removed to keep from being tracked and operate outside of society both physically and digitally. Although I found some of it a bit hard to follow, the world is well established and fascinating, taking technology and environmental ramifications further than I've seen.

The zombies represent the dark side of this technological world. The nanos are meant to heal, but if they are too overworked and stressed, it can lead to nanoshock, which is when the nanos reproduce faster than they die off. This overwhelms the system and leads to possible corruption, which is when the nanos inadvertantly kill the person and power their corpse. These are called necrotech and prove to be incredibly dangerous even in small numbers. Corruption can also occur with newly integrated tech, faulty tech, or too much tech. Nectrotech only have the need to kill. Their skin and fluids typically turn black with necrosis and their bodies convulse uncontrollably. They have strength and speed with the inability to feel pain and breathe. Unless the base of the skull is destroyed, they will keep coming with whatever parts they still have. Nanjali is anomalous as a necro that appeared to be her normal self despite some physical symptoms, but the reason wasn't discovered in this installment.

Riko is a saint and works as a splatter specialist, essentially killing, maiming, or hurting for money, with a cybernetic arm. Her entire world came crashing down when she woke up with a huge hole in her memory, PTSD, and a wrecked reputation. Reputation is everything for her as a saint and her livelihood is essentially gone if no one will associate with her anymore. She'll do anything to find out what happened and restore her rep. I enjoyed Riko's curse laced narrative because she's brash, direct, and capable. Her emotions can get in the way, but she can look past them to see what's practical. Riko won't apologize for her actions and doesn't take anyone's shit. Her softer side isn't seen as much, but it's there, leading her charge to find out what happened to Nanjali. It's refreshing to see a character like Riko with her confidence, power, anger, and sexuality. Bisexual characters aren't often seen at all in media and it's good to see representation that validates her feelings for all of her partners.

Necrotech is quite the thrillride. It has action, intrigue, fight scenes, futuristic technology, an environmentally devastated world, and kickass Riko in the middle of it all. The action scenes are particuarly insane because of the nanos. People can take a lot more damage and many are seen pushing through fatal injuries, bone breaks, and other extreme injuries. I have two points of criticism. Too much of the middle was Riko playing through the same scenario of getting angry, fighting, and eventually unhappily compromising. Secondly, not a lot is resolved at the end because it's setting up to be a series. A few things being tied up or discovered wouldn't have left the ending so up in the air. Other than that, if you want an irreverant hero with colorful language and crazy skills, look no further.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

No comments: