I have just finished reading (and enjoying) Jonathon Munros”, the last of three ebooks by Ian Miller based around a somewhat distopian view of where our world (and Mars) is heading.  A world in which large corporations have divided up the world in their own interests.

The first of this trilogy was a reasonably straightforward and very enjoyable science fiction ebook mainly about the founding of a human colony on Mars, and the first tenuous contacts with aliens, the second was a more complex story in which the various characters were further developed as was the concept of the way in which large corporations function in society, and now we have the third and last of these three ebooks, a much, much more complex story, with strong elements of Cyber Punk coming to the fore.

Ian Miller, the author describes this ebook as follows:-

“Dreams of revenge are sweet, but the consequences are not, and there was plenty of revenge going around. Jonathon Munro rather pointlessly wanted revenge on his wife, while others wanted revenge on him. Prolonged revenge required a substitute, in this case an android programmed to be just like the original. Jonathon Munro always tried to cheat the system, therefore so did the android. Jonathon Munro was inherently evil, therefore so was the android. Jonathon Munro had access to spyware that informed him of everything the authorities were doing, therefore so did the android. One mistake, then there were androids. Multiple Jonathon Munros meant multiple revenge attacks, first on a number of people he disliked, then on those who tried to stop him. Worse than anything else, Jonathon Munro knew the secret of the Cydonian face. Once that secret was exposed, a treaty that protected Earth from nearby aliens with far greater technology and who desired Earth would expire. The clock was running, and unless the Jonathon Munros could be stopped, all civilization on Earth was at risk, either from the androids, or the aliens, or both.”

Whilst this is a reasonable description of one of the main elements in this complex ebook, it is far from all that this story contains.   Obviously there is a lot of stuff about how Androids behave, are programmed and controlled, and for once we are confronted with robots (I know an android is not quite the same as a robot, but….) who do not conform to the now rather tired and over used set of Laws that Asimov set down all those years ago about how a robot should behave.  These androids are quite astonishingly malevolent and perfectly capable of harming humans, as they repeatedly do in the course of this tale.

Not only about Androids, also drains and power struggles:

However, there is so much more to this ebook than androids and the problems of dealing with rogue androids.  We are entertained along the way with the acoustic problems of designing toilet drains in high rise buildings, the manner in which huge and megalomanic corporations endeavour to control both themselves and the world they operate in and some intriguing methods of destabilising computer systems, and of course, as in the first two ebooks of this trilogy, how politics work – this last is a very depressing view of the realities of political manoeuvring.

As with the earlier ebooks, the characters are not in any way cardboard, but fully rounded and complicated and very human creatures, with all the normal baggage that we all bring to bear on how we go about our daily lives, only in the case of this lot, the problems they are dealing with are not only how to clamber to the top of whatever pile they wish to be the bosses of, but also how to relate to each other, and in one case, how to deal with a vastly superior race of aliens as well.

And as a sort of counter balance to the splendidly evil and numerous Jonathon Munros that clutter up the world of this story, we are also introduced to a rather charmingly amiable female (do androids have genders?) android as well.

Not the last of this future history:

Ian Miller tells us that this is the last of this set of ebooks, but that he will continue to write books that will carry on with this view of how the world is going, but set in the future of the mob in these three ebooks, so, sadly, we wont be reading any more about the strong cast of these ebooks any more, which I for one feel is a pity, as at the end of this book, we are left with a very incomplete story, which could happily be carried on for a whole library full of books detailing the next developments in the colony on Mars, the way the various characters in the three books have grown and developed and what happens when the contact between us and the aliens grows stronger and more open.

So if you enjoy science fiction which pushes the borders of that genre in many ways, with a strong and complex story line and a cast of fully rounded protagonists, then this ebook, and its predecessors are a definite must for your reading pleasure.

Scientifically accurate, but not too heavily so:

And as in all his books, the science in them is firmly based on reality (though in some cases a somewhat contentious reality), but this real science is dosed with a judicious spoon, and we are not overwhelmed with too much hard scientific fact, as happens in many over researched books.  Here were are given enough scientific background to be able to understand the choices being made in the story, but in no way being exposed to a dull and dogmatic scientific treatise pretending to be a novel.

Not stand alone

As a final note, I would mention that the author states that all three of these ebooks are “stand alone” and can each be read independently of the other two.  I take issue with him here, as I feel strongly that if you read the second or third book without having read the earlier one(s) a lot of the characters and their behaviour will not make much sense.  In my view, this is a case of a long story decided into three volumes, and decidedly not three separate stories at all.

Where to get it:  Click Here

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