Review: Broadcast by Liam Brown


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Broadcast by Liam Brown (publishing date: 15 Sept 2017)

I got this digital ARC from Netgalley. The genre is SFF.

This is the first time I read a book by Liam Brown. The book on its cover advertises itself as “Black Mirror meets Inception in the YouTube age”. Those who are not aware, “Black Mirror” referred here is the British TV series that deals with science fiction in alternate/futuristic worlds having unintended consequences of new technologies. “Inception” is the famous movie directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, that dealt with entering the subconscious and manipulating / stealing / implanting thought in the mind of the target person.

The two comparatives constitute a deadly combination. And so is the book. It navigates itself through a fascinating premise, and the author has successfully carried and executed the theme in the book. Despite YouTube being so contemporary and commonplace, that it makes it difficult to come to judgement or conclusions on its direction, Liam Brown has developed the theme in a very interesting manner to make it a compelling read.

It starts with the protagonist David, meeting Xan, who is in tech business, and develops products that has far reaching effects for society. It starts with a guitar, which even when a novice plays, can result in music as if an expert is playing. So, a reader may start to think that story relates to that. But, no. The story relates to a small chip that has a vast ramification for society. The chip when implanted behind the ear can stream thoughts to the YouTube channel. And the story is woven magnificently within this premise.

The intertwining of the ambition of individual with the interests of corporate. Nothing is free. Even the online videos, even though apparently are free, do not come free. There is a cost to everything, that goes beyond the monetary elements.

The latter half of the book has the effects of the Inception, and one is at a loss to understand what one is reading is really happening with the protagonist, or its happening in his mind.

The book starts with a third person narrative, but somewhere the narrative shifts to the first-person of the protagonist. Perhaps that was the way to keep the suspense in the narrative, as in this case a first person narrative would make for the limitation of the information available to the protagonist, compared to the information that could be made available to the reader in a third person narrative.

The book is interesting, and questions many assumptions of our current society. I won’t go into the details, but one thing, I would certainly say, the ending of the book is as enigmatic as the Inception movie. Overall, a very interesting, thought provoking and fascinating book to read.

Copyright © Anup Mukherjee

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