His criminal past catching up with him, a troubled young man seeks escape into digital utopia by uploading his consciousness into a computer -- just as first love casts his life in a new light. In this thrilling near-future science-fiction novel, Mark McClelland explores the immense potential of computer-based consciousness and the philosophical perils of simulated society.
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By Hazen Wardle
Dec 2, 2012
Like Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, Upload is fast paced and full of action, a story-noire set in a not too distant dystopian society. Have you ever had a problem you wish you could run away from in hopes that it would just go away? Raymond finds himself in a situation where he not only wants to run from his myriad of problems, but he has also devised a way in which he can just ‘disappear’ and leave everything—and everyone— far behind. As a young boy, he was essentially orphaned and spent most of his adolescent years growing up in state orphanages and group homes. He had no parental guidance and, short of loose supervision, very little adult guidance. Early on he discovered he had a knack for programming and hacking, skills he later cultivated into both a job and profession. He landed his first job as a young teenager, building and maintaining the robots and computer systems of a wealthy elderly man whose only ambition was to spend every waking... More > and sleeping moment in his VR chamber, held in the embrace of one virtual bimbo or another. Using his exceptional computer skills, the boy hacks into his boss’s VR chamber and records the man’s every move in an attempt to create the perfect avatar: a computer likeness in the virtual world, indistinguishable from a human. But then something terrible happens to the old man, and Raymond panics and makes a few...not so perfect…decisions. Fast forward 9 years and Raymond, now on his own, has landed the perfect job: working in a university computer research laboratory— the old man very much in the past and at the back of Raymond’s mind. ~~H. Wardle of 'The Triumph Detective' series< Less
"Upload" is, in my opinion, a great example of the best style of science fiction: the kind that uses futuristic gadgetry and other worlds to teach us something about our inner selves; to reach us in a way we generally don't appreciate when stark reality isn't couched in fascinating layers of alternate-universe story. I loved the plot and the theme, and felt the anti-hero was worth the emotional investment. I'm already looking forward to reading about the first human brain upload in a science magazine or newspaper headlines in the not-too-distant future.
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