Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Electricchurch The Electric Church
by Jeff Somers

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

It reads like an action movie, set in a dark future, where nations are a thing of the past and the rich and poor are separated by a deep chasm… We’ll make that an R18 movie, for bad language (our anti-hero, Avery Cates, is inordinately prone to the use of the "f" word) and violence – we have a very high body count here, though not all of them are exactly human. So, this is not a book for children or sensitive persons. Avery Cates is a Killer, an assassin for hire, in a starkly violent world with overtones of Bladerunner. Here there are robots, guns, hover vehicles, guns, cybertech, guns, psionics… oh, and more guns. He’s a surprisingly sympathetic character for all that – he’s not into killing children, and avoids killing people who aren’t shooting at him (or he’s being paid to kill). He’s in trouble because he killed an undercover cop (by mistake) and now the King Worm, head of the DIA (the cops’ cops) has hired to kill Dennis Squalor, founder and chief prophet of the Electric Church. Now, I’ve read about full-body cyborgs, human brains in mechanical bodies before, but the idea of this as a religious exercise is new to me. The rationale is that the only way to work out your salvation is over time – lots of time – and that means you need to be immortal. And so, you are invited to become a cyborg, a brain in a android body, one of the Electric Monks. The question is, are all those converts willing? And are they as happy as they seem? If you like cyberpunk and dark future action movies, you’re guaranteed to love this book.
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