BOB D’EITH – ADAGIO BOOKS
Maple Ridge’s Bob D’Eith is a bit of a renaissance man. Successful music lawyer, musician, record label head, executive director of Music BC and non-fiction author – he has done much and succeeded at it all. Now turning his eye to the realm of science fiction, he has created The Displaced (the first volume in his proposed Corpocracy series), a vision of a dystopian future in which the ambiguously, ominously named Company has, through economic and technological manipulation of Earth’s people, made itself a de facto world government.
The story primarily follows Matt, a schlubby everyman and one of the titular Displaced, lower-class émigrés of what is dubbed ‘911-2’, a terrorist attack that leveled several major North American cities. His childhood best friend Jonas, a junior executive at the Company, finds out and relates to Matt the Company’s latest extra-evil scheme: to turn the about-to-sail pioneering Martian colonists into mindless slaves via unscrupulous usage of nanotechnology. Matt resolves to make sure this doesn’t happen, which takes him on a dangerous journey through space, and finally to Mars, accumulating a posse of accomplices, friends and lovers along the way.
D’Eith succeeds at keeping the reader engaged and interested, leading his audience on a page-turning sci-fi interpretation of the topically popular ‘evil 1%’ story. The characters, while sometimes a tad one-dimensional, are relatable and easy to cheer on as they skirt the ubiquitous Big Brother-esque surveillance while surreptitiously plotting to wrest an unwitting humanity from the Company’s increasingly menacing grip.
The near-future D’Eith paints is a scarily believable one, albeit a touch paranoid. His extrapolations of current and barely-speculative technologies are familiar and used to spooky effect in the hands of the Company. Following in the steps of his illustrious genre forebears, the story serves as a warning of the abuses of technology and power as much as it does as a rollicking space adventure. The prose itself flows well; creating an even tension that slowly builds, enticing the reader towards the speculated sequels. The only detraction is that it occasionally comes off as a bit workmanlike, likely a carryover from D’Eith’s previous work as a non-fiction author. Overall, the book works well in its sci-fi trappings and provides enough adventure and futuristic goodies to keep most genre fans happy.
Review by David Nowacki