Books : reviews

Raphael Carter.
The Fortunate Fall.
Tor. 1996

rating : 2.5 : great stuff
review : 14 November 2004

Maya Andreyeva is a reporter with her "camera" wired into her head, so the her audience experience everything in full VR -- everything that her "screener" lets through. Just as she is about to embark on the second episode of her controversial three part documentary on the anniversary of a war atrocity, she gets a new screener, and an offer of the interview of her life. Can she manage to broadcast it before the Post Cops and the terrifying Weavers stop her? And why does her new screener want her to remove the suppressor chip from her memory?

This is a brilliantly imagined future, where not just the technology, but the social and political landscape, is altered almost beyond recognition. It has some very savage things to say about treatment of enemy prisoners, about the future of the Internet, and about trying to change people for the better. As a first novel, it has a few wobbles: it is very talky in places -- although, given the protagonist is a reporter conducting an interview, this can be excused. Despite the talkiness, this is a brilliant debut.