Monad is possibly the world’s largest corporation – they make androids. The androids known as Dr Easys assist the London police, patrolling the streets and calming the citizens.
Monad also makes the Red Men androids. The Red Men are virtual corporate workers who never tire and are highly intelligent and very creative.
Redtown is a virtual city inhabited by copies of real people doing everyday, ordinary things from reading the daily paper to serving in government. This simulated world provides a perfect opportunity for the real world scientists and sociologists to study their behavior and observe this perfect simulation in order to hopefully find new ways of address disasters and diseases.
Overseeing this virtual world is Nelson, a one-time radical journalist, now the leader of virtual people. But maybe Nelson isn’t the right man for this job as when he is faced with a choice of the company or his family, he’s definitely a family man and Monad needs a company man.
A lot of this book reminds me of Philip K. Dick with the blurring of the lines between real and virtual. We’re never quite sure which reality we will end with when we finish reading, and the themes of ‘what is real and what is not’ and ‘how do we live authentically’ and ‘authoritarianism’ are equally present here.
But the danger with this type of story is in losing the reader and that’s what happens here. Author Matthew De Abaitua straddles the line between virtual and reality just a little too closely and it can be difficult to follow at times, slowing the reader down.
There’s enough strength here that I’m very interested in reading more, but I’d be hoping for a tighter edit.
Looking for a good book? The Red Men by Matthew De Abaitua is reminiscent of the 1970’s drug-fueled paranoid alternate reality speculative fiction but loses some ground along the way.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
The Red Men
author: Matthew De Abaitua
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 368 pages