Review: Cyberpunk City: The Machine Killer by D.L. Young

There is NOTHING original in this book. Everything in this book has been done better elsewhere (and usually from books and movies in the 80's and 90's that originated these ideas).

This book is basically a bad ripoff of Neuromancer by William Gibson with a bit of BladeRunner for scenery and an overload of The Matrix. I really should have DNF'ed (Did Not Finish) it but it was a short weekend read. After 23% I knew it was going to be a stinker but I just had to see how much ripping off was done.

To start, you have The City which is the upper North Eastern US. It got so big and sprawling that all of the cities in that area became one and was just called The City. Sure sounds exactly like The Sprawl from Neuromancer which was one giant city from the upper North East of the US down the the South.

Instead of a Console Cowboy from Neuromancer we get a Datajacker here. Don't worry, he uses a "deck" to access VR VS just like in Neuromancer.

VR (Virtual Reality) became VS (Virtual Space) because changing a word that is popularized makes it different. Virtual Space looks pretty much exactly as how William Gibson thought it up for Neuromancer in the 80's by the way. Cities of data inside the machine that can be hacked.

Remember how in Neuromancer the big corporations that became mega corps kept both names and only added a hyphen between them? Yeah, they do that here too.

Blackburn Maddox (the antihero) likes his ramen from street vendors in the midst of the crowded city by the way. If you think about that scene from Bladerunner, you pretty much get the picture.

You have 2 AI's at war that both resemble characters from The Matrix. Even though one appears as an old silver haired white lady on the beach in "VS", I could only see her as the black lady in The Matrix that she was ripped off from. Even her dialogue inflections seem to be lifted from this Matrix character.

The bad AI refers to Maddox as Mr. Maddox over and over and you can't help but hear Smith saying, "Mr. Anderson" in The Matrix.

Any type of speculative technology or modern tech and what it could be used for in the future has probably been thrown into the story some where. From AR (Augmented Reality) ads viewed through specs to hovers and a host of other things. The speculation can sometimes overtake the ripped off plot.

The plot is almost a straight rip off of Neuromancer. Though here it has been given a ton of plot holes. I get the feeling that the author was pantsing his way through and when he came upon an idea from elsewhere to steal, he didn't bother to rectify how this change had no bearing on what he already wrote.

Some janky plot right here... When Maddox and his crew "datajack" some info for an employer and then run into human controlled AI, they lose their shit. It is the worst thing that can happen in the world (why?). Then they refuse to give the info to their employer because these AI controlled humans showed up and they feel he double crossed them (he ended up being the male AI that says Mr. Maddox all of the time). That pisses off the AI (as well it should because he was the employer) and then granny AI finds Maddox and tells him about an AI war that has been taking place and that the male AI has been using him as a puppet for years.... (really???)... The female on the team (just think Molly Millions from Neuromancer, it will save me time explaining her) was also used as a puppet and guards the reason why she was blackmailed into the job, but... it turns out, EVERYONE knew why she was blacklisted in the past so blackmail probably wouldn't work on her anyway so.... ugh.... makes no sense!!!

If missing words or dyslexic words bother you, then you won't want to read this because it does happen often. It doesn't bother me so much because this is a self published effort. Credit for that given. You work on writing a book and chances are that both the cover artist and the editor will make more money (and up front) than you will. So I give leeway to some word play inaccuracies.

There are 5 books in this series but I will not be picking up anymore of them or probably anything else from this author. I'm not a fan of ripped off plots and shallow characters that are basically parroting deeper characterizations done elsewhere and done a million times better.

2021 Book Completion Count: 10 (and 1 Novella/ Short Story)



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