For all my love of science fiction, I have never been particularly drawn to cyberpunk as a subgenre. Of course, I have read Neuromancer and Johnny Mnemonic, Snowcrash and Altered Carbon among other such, not to mention a bunch of applicable Philip K. Dick. I’ve seen every iteration of Blade Runner that exists on film (and that is a lot). But I think there is something about its generally bleak vision of the future — that technology and progress will overtake us so implacably that we will be powerless to prevent society’s inevitable descent into cybernetics, dehumanization and, above all, loneliness — that makes me unutterably sad.
This novel echoes those themes in spades, but also gives it all a Spanish flair — it is set in New Madrid in the too-near future — while also giving us a face-tattooed artificial life form as our detective heroine, who rejoices under the unlikely moniker of Bruna Husky.
Bruna — who is more usually referred to as “the detective” and “the rep”, which is kind of annoying, to be honest — is employed to get to the bottom of a suspicious death, and before long she gets drawn into a far-reaching conspiracy against her race (“rep” is short for “replicant”, and yes, the title is indeed a reference to Blade Runner; it is even mentioned in the text) and the very controlling government. There are aliens in this world, and a barely-sentient, very cute pet-type creature who speaks, but all of this is thrown at us as though it’s really no big deal. Maybe it isn’t.
The book is perhaps a tad overlong, and Bruna’s investigative skills aren’t exactly top notch, her method being distinctly of the “crash around until someone tries to kill me” school of detection, but the book held my attention throughout, and I liked its contemplation of what makes us individuals, what makes us human, and how important our memories are to our sense of self. Despite myself, and her, I even liked Bruna, debilitating drug addiction and frank sexual encounters and all.
Bruna Husky #2 was translated into English and released in 2016, but the third in the series, released last year, does not yet have an English version. I’ll wait.
TBR DAY 202: Tears in Rain (Bruna Husky #1) by Rosa Montero
GENRE: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk, Spanish Fiction
TIME ON THE TBR: 4 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Minotaur Melbourne.