The Extractionist

Tachyon. Jul. 2022. 290p. ISBN 9781616963767. pap. $17.95. SF
In a future where people have computers wired into their brains, programmers have gone well beyond virtual reality and created a place called The Swim, where the virtual becomes reality. Eliza McKay is an extractionist who pulls out people who have gone too deep and can no longer reconcile mind and body. She is trying to put her life and career back together after a disastrous experiment got her security clearance pulled. Her newest job seems like a simple extraction, but when the man she’s hired to extract refuses to go and warns her about a member of his team, she realizes there is a lot more going on. Soon, goons are showing up at her home, and the hacker is getting hacked. She’s no longer sure who she can trust: the man she was hired to extract, the secretive government employees who hired her, the tech genius who claims to need her help, or even The Swim itself.
VERDICT Unger (Nucleation), a game designer and VR programmer by day, delivers an edge-of-your-seat technothriller with a refreshingly relatable protagonist. While some might find this too jargon-heavy for comfort, cyberpunk fans will love Unger’s scientific knowledge and creativity.
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