I was not happy in my impact with cyberpunk. It happened a couple of years ago when I read for the first time a book by William Gibson (“Virtual light”). What then had me puzzled, however, was not the topic itself but how cumbersome it was presented within the book.
Fortunately, even though I decided to put aside reading other books by Gibson, I did not do the same with this sub-genre of science fiction, whose premises fascinate me. The chance to exist, to have self-awareness, to live a “thinking” life as a digital creature within a virtual reality is something that is not easy to conceive, but it contains within itself implications of great interest.
If our consciousness is nothing but the result of chemical reactions and electricity, from this conceptual point of view imagining a digital consciousness does not appear absurd. And within this novel Marco Santini tries to outline a future scenario in which this practice is the norm so much to make this virtual people almost a threat to the real one, limited by their body. The beauty of digital is the fact of being limitless. You can create virtual worlds where to live, but at the same time you can download your own consciousness into androids who live in the real world, moreover you can exist forever and travel through space without worrying about the distances, because time is not an enemy. This absence of limits allows the author, with great imagination, to create an intricate and compelling story. To tell you the truth inside of this book there is material for much more than just a novel. Santini could have made a trilogy or even a series of novels, allowing the reader to enjoy longer and at the same time to further investigate a topic which is not always easy to understand.
In any case the result is more than good. It is an enjoyable read, with controversial aspects, but they offer many insights. And all this at no cost, as the ebook version is even free. Also in this version the author also takes full advantage of the potential of digital by periodically updating the text. If you want to imagine a distant future that is completely different from the present in which we live, “The Alpha Centauri project” can give you what you look for.
The Alpha Centauri Project (Thinking worlds) (all ebook formats, free) on Smashwords.
The Alpha Centauri Project (Thinking worlds) (paperback) on Amazon.com.