Ten years after he died, Cari’s grandfather is back.
Or at least, his memories are, stolen and repackaged by tech giant Merrywhile Industries to promote their latest project: digital immortality.
But when no one believes her, Cari’s outrage drives her in search of proof and answers, drawing her into a virtual underworld of avatars and aliases, mercenary hackers and corporate spies, and where at the centre of it all is MUNKi, a cutting-edge project to create the world’s most advanced toy robot – which may be neither as cute nor as innocent as it looks.
MUNKi is a twisted tale of revenge, ambition and loss. From the rural slumber of the South Wales valleys, to the frenzied beat of London’s economic heartland, to the decaying grandeur of Venice, it is a philosophical exploration of memory, death and identity, and the ambiguous role that technology has come to play in all our lives.
Complex compelling plot. I like plot-driven sci-fi, like say William Gibson, and this reads in that vein. Complex story you are dropped into on page 1 with no idea what’s going on. Most of it gets clear by the end, if you can remember all you read earlier. I’m going to now read it a second time, with spoilers in mind (which is fine with me). As others have written, it takes place mostly in the real world (assuming the real world is not a simulation) and the rest in a kind of Snow Crash virtual world. Very well done, with meaningful social commentary well hidden beneath the action. I recommend getting the very short story “General Ned” from the author’s website (free I think) and reading that before reading MUNKi. It fills in a bit of backstory (Amazon US reviewer, 5 stars)
A romp through technologies current and imminent in a search for what humanity is going to become when it grows up. In order to enjoy this book your knowledge of computing need be no more than an awareness of the current generation of video games. Your knowledge of philosophy can be zilch – everything you need is provided on the page and explained in a interesting and accessible way … I enjoyed his nicely quirky main characters, especially the way he juxtaposes them with the landscapes they inhabit (the action moves from South Wales, through London, to Venice). The whole is well spiced with a philosophical explanation of Southwell’s new world order, told with an insouciant wit, which even I (a bear of small brain) could follow and understand the jokes! To quote from the opus, the book ‘wear[s] its learning at a jaunty angle’. It would make a great movie. (Big Al’s Books and Pals, 4 stars)
MUNKi is as good as any popular sci-fi I’ve read. If I were to make a comparison, Blake Crouch is the name that comes to mind… I could see this working very well as a film or TV series: the visuals are stunning… where MUNKi really excels is in weaving together numerous disciplines to turn them effectively into a multi-layered story of transhumanism. It will make you think, both about our present and our future, and it will surely entertain. A recommended read. (Orchid’s Lantern, Independent Press and Book Review Blog)
Gripping, thought provoking and fun – This is a brilliant book. I was gripped from the start … full of twists and turns, grounded by well drawn, authentic characters. Strongly recommended. (Amazon UK reviewer, 5 stars)
Beautifully, eloquently written … this book holds something for every one on different levels – particularly appealing for those who enjoy philosophy… (Amazon Australia reviewer, 4 stars)
A fully immersive read … loved the settings, characters complexity and speeding pace, … a thrilling read … and most unexpectedly, I was very moved by it. (Amazon UK reviewer, 5 stars)
A clever and at times unsettling cyberpunk story … I enjoyed the author’s writing style and found some of the phrasing quite sublime … an intelligent, believable plot and a quite compelling read. (Goodreads Reviewer, 4 stars)
Deeply Brilliant … This book is amazing. It’s taken every nagging fear and doubt you might have about the digital world and turned it into a brilliant story with immense depth, compelling characters and real lasting emotional impact. It’s unashamedly deeply philosophical whilst being hugely entertaining and easy to read. Gareth Southwell has created a universe that is so beautifully written, full of love and humanity, greed and death, robots and monsters. I loved this book and I can’t recommend it enough. (Amazon UK reviewer, 5 stars)
SF meets philosophy meets pop culture … Wonderful blend of up to the minute SF themes and philosophical ideas, with some pop culture thrown in – an excellent read and thought provoking story. (Amazon UK reviewer, 5 stars)
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