Cyber Mage

Unnamed Pr. Dec. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781951213282. pap. $18.00. SF
The Cyber Mage of Hossain’s (Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday) cyberpunk novel is Marzuk Khan Rahman, the teenage scion of an old and respected family in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2089. Following an ecological apocalypse, Dhaka’s high population density has become the key to both economic and environmental survival. Marzuk is an expert hacker and savant when it comes to navigating the Virtuality that has replaced physical reality. When he falls for a girl and tries to catch her eye, he encounters a free-range AI, a djinn-enhanced assassin, and a plot to take over Dhaka by shutting down its infrastructure.; to save the city, Marzuk will lead an army of hackers into the biggest virtual-reality game in the world. Hossain’s novel can certainly be read as a cautionary tale about climate change, but the energy that powers this story will remind many readers of a twisted version of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One: society has descended into dystopia after ecological catastrophe; the protagonist’s quest is driven by privilege and self-interest; and the virtual world runs on greed.
VERDICT Highly recommended for readers of cli-fi and those looking for a story that explores the virtual world.
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