Full Immersion

Angry Robot. Sept. 2022. 400p. ISBN 9780857669810. pap. $15.99. HORROR
Amor (Six Rooms) presents a brutally raw and powerful novel. Tackling the issues of a woman with severe depression and suicidal ideations, it’s not for the faint of heart. The protagonist, given the name Magpie during therapy, has struggled with postpartum depression and raising her son. All the parts—the good as well as the ugly—are laid bare. When Magpie discovers that she’s dead, she sets out to investigate how it happened. Readers see the desperate plea for help she sent beforehand to the people who run a virtual reality–based therapy program. During her therapy session, the practitioners assigned to Magpie’s case begin to wonder if full immersion in virtual reality is actually possible as the situation veers off course. The point-of-view shifts highlight the callousness of the medical team as well as Magpie’s struggle to make sense of everything. The body horror is visceral, and the virtual reality component will cause readers to constantly question what’s real.
VERDICT Readers of Amor’s latest are in for a creepy, unsettling narrative, with strong shades of Sarah Pinborough. Recommend to those who enjoy films like Inception and Memento.
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