You shared your life online. Now how will you get it back?
Twitter. Facebook. WhatsApp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself - where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think - online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realising it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets. If people want to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.
But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Leherer and programmer Danielle Farr, that's not just an interesting thought experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There's just one problem: sic_girl doesn't exist. She's a construct, a program used to test code.
Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who's controlling sic_girl and why...before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.
©2016 Matthew Blakstad (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton
Matthew Blakstad is most definitely a talent to watch. His debut novel Sockpuppet is a painfully timely tech thriller, but this very, very smart book wears its big themes - data privacy, hactivism, internet culture, political corruption - and deep research impressively lightly. Sockpuppet makes you think, and think hard, about the direction our digital world is taking us in, but it is first and foremost a thrilling story that will keep you up all night. There's nothing quite like it out there, but if you're into pigeonholes then fans of William Gibson and Armando Iannucci will appreciate Blakstad's fast-paced, confident, modern, urban voice, with its delicious edge of satire. This is the kind of novel you end up recommending to all your friends, so get in there early - it's the first in a series that's bound to become a rapid word of mouth success.
Touted as a fresh, near-future sci-fi, this book isn't half as clever as Matthew Blakstad thinks it is. The prose tries too hard - somewhere close to the end, one of the characters observes some copy that is tired, chopped together words and marketing jargon (I'm paraphrasing here, forgive me, I simply wasn't bothered enough to rewind and write down the quote properly.) That pretty much sums up the book. It's a mish-mash of l3wt speak as it was 10 or more years ago, applied to a plot that tries too hard to be shocking (and isn't) centering around a handful of two-dimensional characters.It's a pretty uncomfortable listen in all; sadly, not because of a good plot or unexpected twists, but just because it was so badly written I was almost embarrassed on behalf of the author.
Not based on this offering.
The constant, repeating threads of usernames, forum strings and nested comments jarred. Overall the narrator did the best she could with the material.
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