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by Mack J. Lou

Rating: ***

Nousopolis is set in the 22nd century where thought-based communication via an advanced system (RAMRIC) is the normal. However, this system is suddenly shutdown and little information is given from the controlling forces as to why. The residents of Nousopolis are advised to essentially hibernate until the matter is resolved but four residents feel differently and decide to investigate …

Nousopolis is an interesting conceptual read with lots of potential. It is written in prose that is so prosaic and immediate that it is practically devoid of emotion. This complements the narrative but can detract in places. Dialogue is often written as a script, certainly between the main characters and there are layers of technological specifications often in acronym which mean that the book often reads as a scientific manual. Sentences are rapid, almost robotic and resultingly, you do feel the sinister sense of a barren dystopia controlled by unknown forces. Despite the lack of descriptive imagery, the novel is very visual and I could see it as a short film, very much so.

The characters seem emotionally absent but that does fit with the plot. As the story moves, you find distinguishing characteristics appear and I did think some of the comedic catchphrases amusing when used in such otherwise sterile language. I thought Agent Bohm could have been utilised more and I did find Zoe unlikeable; I was waiting for her to receive a comeuppance. I found I began to really like the triumvirate of Janet, John and Rob and thought the homage to past scientists/people of historical interest such as Ada Lovelace, Babbage and Mary Wollstonecraft was a nice touch lending familiarity to a distorted world.

Mr Lou’s imagination in mentally designing Nousopolis shows tremendous depth and intricacy; it was absorbing yet occasionally jargon-dense and I would be curious to read a further instalment to see how Mr Lou develops the concept in both the story and narrative technique.

For an intriguing slice of cyberpunk science-fiction, Nousopolis is certainly recommended. Buy from:

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