Review of 'Synners'

Synners by Pat Cadigan

synners.jpg This is the first novel I have ever read by Pat Cadigan and it took me two tries over 3-4 months before I was able to complete it. It is not that it is not well written or that it was boring, to the contrary, I found it very interesting but it was the large amount of characters and character detail that I just could not keep in my head never mind the length of 460+ pages so every-time I sat down to read was another attempt at figuring out who was who and what was going on. From what I have gathered…

“Synners” is set the, what was at the time when it was written, high-tech future where technology fuels every aspect of every life which is experienced more and more in virtual worlds, leaving the “meat” behind. These worlds are created and manipulated by nick-named “synners” - Those that “synthesise”. In the novel we follow a group of Synners employed by the massive multi-national company “Diversifications”, having recently acquired “EyeTraxx” with their medical research lab providing them with the latest immersive technology - Sockets drilled into the cranium to provide a virtual experience unlike any other directly into the brain. The line between the real and the virtual has just disappeared…

This is cyberpunk write large and it is this that Cadigan excels weaving perhaps and much more realistic cyberpunk future than Gibson in his seminal work Neuromancer but tied together with the familiar refrain of an “evil corporation” seeking profit before people. There is dark humour here also including things like a body of a human “temporarily dead” lying in the middle of a house that everyone simply steps over.

It may have won the prestigious “Arthur C. Clarke (SF) Award” but I can't say it a book I will be going back to read any time soon. Fascinating vision, great story but damn difficult to read.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2019-08-31

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 1991

ISBN: 9780575119543