Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gods Tomorrow by Aaron Pogue

Privacy is dead. The world has traded secrecy for Hathor: a surveillance database that offers the public convenience and pleasure, as well as a drastic reduction in crime. Hathor's all-seeing eye quickly finds those who dare to break the law, watching them every step of the way.

But...what if Hathor doesn't see all? What if there's someone out there who knows how to hide and walk unseen? What if there are lots of someones?

Katie Pratt works for the Ghost Targets division of the FBI -- tasked with tracking down these elusive "ghosts" in the system. On her first case, she finds a mote in Hathor's eye: a blacked-out murder, a killer who has gotten away without a trace. A ghost for her to track.

But as she goes deeper, Katie finds something even more alarming. A single unresolved murder is bad enough...but the blackout is spreading. Hathor's blindness is getting worse. If Katie can't find the murderer and stop the blackout, her elusive ghost might destroy the system...and all of modern society with it.

Aaron's novel Gods Tomorrow grabbed me with the first sentence and didn't let me go until the last one. You've heard me talk about this before, how Aaron is a born storyteller who knows exactly how to hook a reader. Not only that, he has spent decades sharpening that natural talent through practice, practice, practice, education, trial and error, more practice, and an admirable ability to accept constructive critique with humility and grace.

What I'm trying to say is, the guy knows what he's doing -- and it shines in the story.

His main character, Katie Pratt, is strong, engaging, and sometimes endearingly unsure of herself. In Chapter One, she takes an elevator ride up to the floor of her new job, and by the time she steps out of the elevator, the reader knows her fears. But in spite of them, she keeps at her task from start to finish and doesn't flinch when all you-know-what breaks loose. Like her creator, the girl knows her stuff -- and she's gonna use it to do her job, no matter what the consequences.

The novel's concept -- privacy rotting in its grave, all human action and interaction recorded by Hathor's all-seeing eye -- provides an almost scary marker pointing toward a very believable possible future. Think about where cell phones, smartphones, GPSs, and satellite tracking are headed. The future is almost *now*.

Aaron's envisioned, not-so-distant future is somewhat Orwellian (Big Egyptian Sister is watching you?), but far more accessible, if that makes any sense. Without disparaging his own story, the author himself calls it a "beach read," and I agree: You could read this for fun in your free time and just enjoy it for the sheer, non-stop adventure of it all...or, so choosing, you could let your mind consider the deeper implications -- both for the world at large and for yourself personally.

Glowing recommendation? Ha! I give it a supernova. The movie is gonna be CRAMAZING.

Congratulations, Aaron!!!

Gods Tomorrow is available for purchase in paperback as well as digital format. There's a paperback at Amazon, and an e-Book for the Kindle. There are copies available for the Barnes & Noble Nook, and for the iPad through Lulu.