Network Effect

Martha Wells
Network Effect Cover

Network Effect


It's easy to be dismissive about this book. This is just the face of modern pulp SF. It's fast paced and bloody. It's a quick read and forgettable. It's world-building is, like so much of SF, in the concerns of Today. If you don't know better, then the action with its virtual fights and physical scrimmages sound good, sounds like this is the way it does (or can) in fact, go down. If you don't know better, then the skill of the author successfully pulls it off.

And yet, for all that harping, there is something to this. The central character and the first person narrative work really well. And this guy is actually interesting. He, I use the term 'he' loosely, is trying to survive the insanity of the human world, and put the brutality he's experience behind him. Hard to do when those particular sets of skills that he was created with are constantly being needed.

Actually, the narrative technique of the Other (the outsider), to showcase something by trying to make distance from it, is well used here. Our narrator is wadding through human culture. His understanding of it runs from intimate to not-a-clue, offering us a backhanded critique of our own culture since Our Present is the driving force behind the world-building of the novel series.

Do I actually like this book?

Will I read more?

Would I recommend it?

Well, it's on several award list so there is more here than just pulp; get to it if you're a list person.

I think I will go back and read more.

I really didn't care for the book when I started, but it kinda grew on me after I stated to appreciate what it was doing beyond the pulp level action. It's certainly nothing I would consider for a second read, but for a quick action packed saga with a point, sure, why not.