Tor.com. (LitenVerse, Bk. 2). Apr. 2021. 176p. ISBN 9781250787491. pap. $14.99. SF
Cipri’s follow-up to last year’s Finna takes place in parallel with that first story in the LitenVerse series. While Finna followed the adventures of Jules and Ava as they chased a wayward customer through the multiverse of LitenVärld ™ stores, Defekt follows the misadventures of “Special Exempt Employee” Derek as he joins the inventory crew and learns that his entire life has been a lie. He discovers that he’s just one of a batch of misfit LitenVärld™ clones, who were built to be perfect employees but have turned out to be perfect failures, only good for finding other failures and eradicating them. But those “irregular” parts are all facets of Derek, and through interacting with them, he learns who he might be—and what he has a chance to save.
VERDICT This book isn’t a wild adventure like its predecessor’s romp through the multiverse. Instead, it’s filled with subtle joys and quiet horrors, as Derek discovers not just who he is but who he might be, through his relationship with the other clones. This extremely quirky genre-blending story, with its middle finger aimed squarely at big corporations and profit-at-any-cost capitalism, will appeal to fans of Cory Doctorow or anyone who loved Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör.
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